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Unemployment hits 2.1 million

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Meanwhile, the level of growth in average earnings was the lowest since records began, and was mainly due to the drop in bonuses in the financial sector, according to the Office for National Statistics.

And there’s more pain to come as businesses continue to call in the receivers.

“The impact of the recession on smaller businesses is especially severe. Company failures are still increasing and are likely to do so for some time yet, putting more and more people out of work,” comments Alan Tomlinson, partner at licensed insolvency practitioners, Tomlinsons.

“The Federation of Small Businesses estimates that around 120 small businesses are going bust each day, but this figure is already looking like wishful thinking. What is certain is that the businesses that are disappearing and the jobs they generate will take years to replace.

"Sadly, these appalling unemployment figures will get much, much worse before they get better – there’s still a lot of pain in the pipeline.”

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