Wednesday, November 11, 2009

U.K. Unemployment Rises Least in 18 Months as Recession Eases

By Jennifer Ryan and Svenja O’Donnell

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. unemployment rose at the slowest pace in 18 months in October, bolstering government claims that efforts to lift the economy out of recession are working.

Claims for jobless benefits increased by 12,900, the least since April 2008, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 20 economists was an increase of 20,000. The number of people seeking work in the three months through September rose 30,000, the smallest increase since the period through May 2008.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is counting on an economic revival to narrow the Conservative lead over his Labour Party before a general election due by June 2010. Economists expect unemployment to keep rising long after the economy returns to growth, casting doubt over the strength of the recovery.

“I think we probably are out of the woods but I’m not convinced how sustainable it is,” said George Buckley, chief U.K. economist at Deutsche Bank AG. “We see a recovery that peters out next year.”

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