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Fewer jobless

Unemployment is rising, but still not as fast as expected. Why?

By Tim Leunig   September 2009

Lines at the job centre are lengthening. No surprise in a recession. But this one has been different, so far at least. For a start, the rise in unemployment has been less than economists would expect, given that the economy contracted by a record 5.6 per cent in the last year. One might predict that Britain’s much-vaunted flexible labour market would shed jobs quickly in a downturn. But the growth of employment protection under Labour makes it harder to fire people than in the slump of the early 1990s.

More important is a second trend: management and workers are trying…

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