It may be the Year of the Snake for the Chinese in 2013 but for British workers it will be the Year of the Hard Slog as they face longer hours, further pay squeezes and even fewer full-time permanent jobs.
Warnings about another bleak Con-Dem 12 months came in two studies today from leading economist Dr John Philpott, director of The Jobs Economist, and recruitment website Totaljobs.
Dr Philpott said unemployment would increase by 120,000 to 2.63 million next year because growth in the workforce will exceed the number of jobs being created.
Pay deals will continue to be affected by unemployment with increases lagging behind inflation - leading to real-terms wage cuts for workers already struggling with frozen or falling wages.
Dr Philpott said: "Our jobs outlook for 2013 is relatively optimistic in that we expect only a modest rise in unemployment.
"However, the fact that this can be considered good news merely underlines the harsh reality of current economic austerity - 2013 will be another year of hard slog, with longer hours for those lucky enough to have jobs and a further squeeze on living standards for workers and the jobless alike."
Totaljobs predicted that unemployed people will find it harder to get a job in 2013 as the "scramble" for work gets tougher.
"With changes coming to benefit payments, it is likely the scramble for work is getting fiercer," said its report.
London had been hit by a collapse in the number of catering and hospitality jobs despite the success of the Olympics - and Wales had been hit hard by public-sector cuts.
In many sectors dozens of people were chasing each vacancy.
Totaljobs.com director John Salt said: "In 2012 it became clear that we have been merely storing up problems for the future.
"The reality is that a great deal of the jobs created have been part-time and low-paid.
"Many of those that have been taken off the unemployment roll have in fact just gone into government training schemes rather than paid work."
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