UK figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown the number of people out of work has increased by 128,000 in a three-month period from August to October.

Youngsters are thought to be the worst off, with the number of 16- to 24 year-olds without a job currently standing at 1.027 million, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

The statistics come at the same time as a survey by Manpower has revealed four out of five employers have no plans to hire workers in the next three months.

Hiring expectations were at their lowest level for three years, as results from the survey of 2,100 businesses. With positive numbers implying more employers wanted to increase staff numbers, the national rating now stands at 0%, down from the previous quarter at a rating of +1%.

Luke Johnson, founder of private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, said in yesterday’s (Wednesday 14 December) Financial Times that he would be looking to kick-start job creation throughout his businesses by hiring more than 1,000 employees in the next 12 months. This included national chain Patisserie Valerie and London-based Gail’s Artisan Bakery.

Johnson said: “There is no single, simple, quick cure. The task needs sustained effort by private and public sectors alike to devise a whole series of stimulants to invigorate the jobs market. I do not believe we face insoluble difficulties. But doing nothing is not an option.”

British Baker has recently reported on a wealth of bakery firms hiring new staff, including Brace’s, The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys and Fudges who have all revealed they have or will be growing staff levels in the next year.