Thursday, January 19, 2006
Boys from the Black Stuff
I’ve been warning about the inevitable impact of the growing Asian economy, China in particular, the source of many if not most of your cheap Christmas gifts this year. And the writing, if you care to see it, is now on the wall for a UK economy that is increasingly reliant on skilled services and is seeing manufacturing jobs dwindling to a trickle
The sharpest rise in unemployment since the last recession has boosted the number of jobless to a three-year high.
In the latest blow, the unemployment level soared by 111,000 in the three months to the end of November, the biggest such rise since August 1993.
The jobless count, on the Government’s preferred survey-based measure, reached 1.53 million, or an unemployment rate of 5 per cent. The data was among a series of gloomy signals that Britain’s jobs market has taken a decisive turn for the worse.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose 7,200 to 909,000. This figure marked the eleventh consecutive month of increases — the longest run of claimant count rises since the last recession. One million unemployed isn’t so far away and remember that government muddies the real figures but shoving as many young people into further education as is possible.
Back to China then and the world's second-largest internet market, grew by 18 per cent in 2005 to 111 million. Some 8.5 per cent of the country's 1.3 billion people now have access to the Internet, as the world's technology centre of gravity starts to tilt towards Shanghai.
Time to start those Chinese language lessons I suspect.