THE number of people unemployed in Scotland, Ulster and Wales has gone up.
Worst hit was Ulster, where the number out of work rose by 0.6 percent. According to figures released last month, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland went up to 56,100. This represented a rise of 600 on the figures for May. The claimant count has now gone up by 13.6% in the past year.
The future is also looking less than rosy.
For in Ulster, several thousand workers are employed in the public sector. Therefore, any reduction in spending (Stormont has been ordered to cut £128m from the Northern Ireland budget) would have a significant impact on the economy. This will ultimately lead to job losses both in the public sector - and areas of the private sector that rely on public expenditure.
Scotland didn’t fare much better. Here the number out of work rose by 0.3 percent.
Figures (released during the middle of last week) revealed that the overall jobless total had soared to 8.1 per cent. This means that there are now 216,000 unemployed people in Scotland - up by 8,000 during the period from March to May this year. And some fear that this figure will rise again due to savage Con-Dem cuts in the public sector. These cuts are expected to take place in April of next year. And their effects could be felt for the next five to ten years.
A spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) stated:
"The public sector is going to face an element of contraction over the next five to ten years. As the public sector employs a large number of people, it's important that there's investment in the private sector to create more jobs."
However, as we noted above, areas of the private sector rely on public expenditure. If this public expenditure is slashed, where are all the private sector jobs going to come from?
The situation in Wales is not as clear. Some claim that unemployment rose by 0.1 percent – whilst others say that unemployment remains the same.
However, what is beyond dispute is that the new jobless total showed Welsh unemployment was 131,000 in the three months to May. (Again, these figures were released during the middle of last week).
As in Ulster and Scotland, the future for public sector workers is looking bleak. It’s estimated that – when the spending cuts begin to bite – as many as 20,000 Welsh public sector jobs could go.