The CIPD predicts up to 600,000 jobs could be axed in 2009 with unemployment continuing to rise into 2010, taking the toll of jobs lost through the recession to around a million.
CIPD chief economist John Philpott says: “This time last year, in the face of some scepticism, the CIPD warned that 2008 would be the UK’s worst year for jobs in a decade.
“It was. But in retrospect it will be seen as merely the slow-motion prelude to what will be the worst year for jobs in almost two decades.
He adds: “Overall the 18-month period from the start of the recession in mid-2008 until the end of 2009 will witness the loss of around three quarters of a million jobs, equivalent to the total net rise in employment in the preceding three years.”
Conservative Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Chris Grayling says: “This report is extremely alarming and underlines the scale of the challenge we face.
“The Government should immediately accept our proposals for a £3bn jobs programme which would at least take some of the sting out of the increase.”