First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
UK unemployment continued to climb to 2.67million in the last quarter of 2011, hitting a 16-year high.
According to new government figures, the jobless rate among 16 to 24-year-olds rose 22,000 to 1.04million taking the unemployment rate to 22.2% in this group.
Despite some signs that the rate of rise is easing, there is growing concern that rising unemployment will deliver lasting structural damage to the UK economy.
Mike Leonard, director of the Modern Masonry Alliance, said: “The number of people unemployed fails to take account of the millions who are underemployed and who do not have the opportunity to make use of their full skill set.
“Our economy is not growing and every day we see more job losses across the private and public sector.”
He called on the government to boost manufacturing to build a stable platform for growth and recovery.
“We will not turn this situation around without a strong manufacturing sector. The banking and retail sector are not the sustainable answer to economic growth.
“The fact that 92 pence in the £1 invested in construction stays in the UK is precisely because building materials manufacture is one of the few major industries we have left.
“Failure to provide demand will see a further contraction in capacity and investment in new factories made outside the UK.”
Leonard added: “This fact, together with the thousands of good jobs it would create, is the reason the government must act now to invest for our future by proving the funding for the construction of 25,000 additional social homes over the next 18 months.”