U.K. jobs market is dire, but still slightly better than U.S.
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Steve Chiotakis: Free trade deals may or may not move the employment needle in the U.S., with a jobless rate of 9.1 percent. Meanwhile other countries, such as the U.K., are struggling with their own unemployment issues.
Christopher Werth reports on the difference between the U.S. and British job markets.
Christopher Werth: I meet Dilower Hussein as he unlocks his bicycle outside this unemployment office in East London. He drops by every few days to apply for jobs. That is, since the garment shop he worked for went out of business. But after six months of looking, he’s yet to receive a call.
Dilower Hussein: The job situation is very bad at the moment. I am looking any kind of job — like cleaning, restaurant job, or handyman job. But I couldn’t get anything.
And there are plenty more here like him.
David Kern is chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce. He says the number of people in the U.K. claiming unemployment benefits has recently seen its biggest jump since the darkest days of the crisis in 2009.
David Kern: It’s very tough out there. Make no mistake about it. And it will get worse before it gets better because of the austerity plan that the government is implementing.
That austerity plan includes well over $100 billion dollars in cuts in public spending. Kern says the cuts are necessary, but it will push unemployment in the U.K. over 8 percent, as hundreds of thousands of government jobs are cut.
But Jim Bligh of the Confederation of British Industry says even then, there are half a million vacancies in the U.K. waiting to be filled.
Jim Bligh: Lots of retailers are expanding. The agricultural industries are expanding as well. So most of the jobs at the moment are low-skilled.
Which means they’re also low paid. But at least those jobs are projected to keep unemployment in the U.K. far below the 9.1 percent jobless rate in the U.S.
In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.
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