Unemployment in the UK has risen to eight per cent – its highest level in 17 years – according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The measurement was taken from the three months to the end of January and indicate a total jobless figure of 2.53 million, but also showed that the recruitment of people over the age of 65 had reached 900,000 – the highest level since it first started being measured in 1992.

The set of unpredictable statistics also showed that the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 10,200, to 1.45 million, but that youth unemployment had risen to 18.3 per cent.

Chief economist of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), John Philpott, said that the very mixed figures offered scope for both optimistic and pessimistic outlooks on the UK recruitment landscape.

“The headline rise in unemployment suggests that the labour market weakened at the turn of the year, well before the impact of the coalition Government’s spending cuts and tax rises start to take full effect,” he said.

“However, figures showing more people in work in the private sector, including in manufacturing, and fewer on welfare benefits offer hope that the labour market might withstand the economic headwinds better than previously expected,” he added.

Geoff Newman from flat fee recruitment agency Recruitment Genius feels increasingly confident about the recruitment market.

“Practically every company we speak with is seeing business confidence being restored. This is resulting in significant demand for our services which will result in lots of people finding employment. The figures published for January are already quite old, were expecting March to be our best month ever.

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