Unemployment is set to break through the two million barrier in the New Year after the trickle of job losses at the start of 2008 turned into a torrent of redundancies in the last few months. This is how the grim year for jobs unfolded:
The CBI warned that British business faced a difficult year in 2008, with the outlook appearing uncertain following the “twin shocks” of rising commodity prices and the credit crunch.
The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in December fell for the 15th month in a row.
P&O Ferries announced plans to shed 43 jobs at the Port of Dover.
The number of people finding work through the government’s flagship New Deal jobs programmes was levelling off or falling, according to a report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
The number of people in work reached a record high, and job-related benefit claimants fell to a 30-year low, but the good news was dented by a series of job loss announcements, including 600 at the Devonport dockyard in Plymouth, 100 at an industrial paints factory in Lancashire, and 150 at a sofa-making company in South Wales.
Hundreds of jobs were threatened following a decision by GlaxoSmithKline to close a chemical factory in Ulverston, Cumbria.
The Department for Work and Pensions said it would axe about 12,000 jobs over the next three years because of spending cuts.
The government was accused of “betrayal” when a Remploy factory in York closed, dashing hopes of a last-minute reprieve by the Prime Minister.
Ipswich-based mechanical and electrical installation specialist Warners M&E went into administration, with the loss of 80 jobs.
Unions criticised telecommunications firm Ericsson for closing a site in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, with the loss of 350 jobs.
Mobile phone giant Vodafone axed 450 jobs at its head office in Newbury, Berkshire, in a move aimed at “simplifying” its operations.
The number of people in work reached a record high of almost 30million and unemployment continued to fall, according to new figures.
Fruit packing firm Fruit First ceased trading with the loss of 43 jobs in Faversham, Kent.
Up to 90 job cuts were announced at Norfolk turkey giant Bernard Matthews after a review of production processes and staff levels.
Aerospace giant BAE Systems said it would axe almost 600 jobs at two of its military factories, in Brough, near Hull, and Woodford, near Manchester.
Up to 150 jobs were put at risk at Liverpool bakery chain Sayers as the company announced a consultation period with unions and staff.
There were fears for thousands of jobs after discount clothing chain Ethel Austin was placed in administration.
Unite condemned a decision by 3M to cut 185 jobs at its Gorseinon plant in Wales.
Official unemployment continued to fall and the number of people in work reached a record high.
Japanese manufacturing firm Fujitsu said it would cut 120 jobs from its Birmingham site and transfer work abroad.
JJB Sports said it was shutting 72 stores with the loss of about 800 jobs.
Steel giant Corus said it was axing 290 jobs at its Trostre works in Llanelli, South Wales, because of “difficult market conditions” in the tinplate industry.
About 300 jobs were lost with the closure of a JVC television factory in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.
Unemployment increased and the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose at the highest rate for two years, new figures showed.
Airport ground handling firm Aviance said it would close its operation at Gatwick with the loss of more than 300 jobs.
Unite said Lloyds TSB’s decision to cut up to 250 permanent staff and up to another 195 contractors and temporary staff from its IT function was “unjustified”.
Fridge manufacturer Indesit announced proposals to axe more than 420 jobs in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
More than 800 jobs were threatened at a US-owned computer chip factory in East Kilbride after the owners announced its proposed closure.
The biggest rise in the unemployment count for nearly two years provided further evidence of a worsening economy.
Union leaders reacted with fury after being told that a further 95 Revenue and Customs offices would close, affecting up to 12,300 workers.
Union leaders vowed to fight plans to cut 260 jobs from a call centre in Accrington, run by travel firm Thomas Cook.
Paramount Foods announced more than 300 job cuts at two pizza factories in Manchester.
Housebuilder Barratt said it would close its Sheffield and Chester offices as the firm faced axing 1,000 jobs because of the housing market slowdown.
Barclays was attacked by unions for cutting more than 300 jobs at its home loans division. The government was urged to launch a review of company law in the wake of hundreds of job losses at Lyndale Foods.
Almost 500 jobs were cut in Crawley after pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline announced plans to close its manufacturing site in the town.
The number of people on unemployment benefit saw its biggest jump in more than 15 years during June, official figures showed.
Up to 500 insurance jobs went after Norwich Union confirmed it would be outsourcing two of its operations currently based at its centre in York.
More than 100 jobs were axed at Scotland’s only passport office, in Glasgow.
Official unemployment jumped by 60,000 and the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased at the highest monthly rate for more than 15 years.
Banking giant HBOS said it was axing 425 jobs with the closure of a niche mortgage lender and other streamlining cutbacks.
Private equity firm Pearl Group said it would close its Glasgow and Peterborough offices, with the loss of up to 500 jobs.
Up to 260 job losses were signalled after Royal Mail announced plans to shut three sorting offices in the North West.
Low-cost airline easyJet said it was scrapping 60 management and administrative jobs at its Luton Airport base.
Official unemployment reached its worst level for almost a decade.
Finnish metals group Outokumpu Oyj said it would close a stainless steel plant in Sheffield, laying off all 230 workers, because of oversupply.
ITV News announced plans to axe more than 400 jobs across its regional services to save millions of pounds.
Workers at the giant Ford factory in Southampton started a four-day week as the company cut production in response to the economic downturn.
Administrators overseeing the affairs of the LSUK car parts chain said the directors had no choice but to close it, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Hundreds of job losses were announced at caravan companies Cosalt and Atlas because of a slump in orders.
Thousands of jobs of workers on government computer contracts were to be axed over the next two years, union officials were told.
Hundreds of British Airways managers would leave the airline at the end of the year after applying for voluntary severance, it was announced.
Car maker Jaguar Land Rover confirmed plans to cut 198 jobs, while Nissan said it would halt production of two models at its Sunderland plant in response to a decline in demand.
Thousands of workers at manufacturing firm JCB voted to accept a £50 a week pay cut to save 350 jobs from being axed.
The Legal Services Commission told unions it would cut 600 jobs and close a number of offices over the next three years.
Jaguar Land Rover said it would extend a voluntary redundancy scheme which was set to lead to almost 600 jobs being cut.
Drinks giant Carlsberg said it planned to close its historic brewery in Leeds with the loss of 170 jobs.
Nottinghamshire-based car manufacturer Pendragon said it had made 2,500 people redundant over the past year - equivalent to 20 per cent of its workforce.
Production lines were cut to two and three-day weeks at Fairline Boats in the run-up to Christmas due to “economic circumstances”, the luxury yacht manufacturer announced.
Virgin Media said it would axe about 2,200 UK jobs by 2012; Yellow Pages directories firm Yell warned it expected to lose another 1,300 jobs over the coming year; housebuilder Taylor Wimpey confirmed it had cut a further 1,000 jobs and technology firm Psion announced more than 200 redundancies.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced plans to close a factory with the loss of 620 jobs in 2013 due to a “substantial” decline in forecast demand.
Unemployment reached an 11-year high of 5.8 per cent, with official figures for the three months to September showing that 1.82 million people were out of work – an increase of 140,000 from the previous quarter.
Telecoms giant BT announced it would cut 10,000 jobs before March, mainly among agency workers and sub-contractors.
Construction equipment firm JCB announced it would shed 398 jobs as a result of the “extreme deterioration” in business levels and confidence around the world.
Truck-maker Leyland announced plans to cut almost 250 jobs and an extended shutdown at its factory over Christmas because of a “severe decline” in demand.
Property website Rightmove reported that up to 300 estate agents were quitting each month as they struggled to survive the property downturn.
Steel giant Corus announced plans to cut 400 posts from its distribution business, and cut steel production by 30 per cent over the next few months.
Historic china manufacturer Royal Worcester & Spode, which employed 388 people in Stoke-on-Trent, Lymedale and Worcester, went into administration.
Bosses at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth confirmed up to 300 jobs were to be cut.
JCB said it would shed almost 400 jobs.
Royal Bank of Scotland was reported to be planning to axe around 3,000 staff from its global banking and markets workforce.
Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks told workers that 350 posts would be axed next year.
National Express was to axe more than 300 jobs at its East Anglia rail franchise, the TSSA union said.
Plumbing and building supplies firm Wolseley announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs and close more than 200 branches in the UK and Ireland,
Rolls-Royce said it planned to cut up to 2,000 jobs worldwide, including 140 in the UK, after reviewing the impact of the current economic “uncertainties”.
BAE Systems announced the loss of up to 200 jobs in its land systems business in the UK, hitting several sites.
Car giant Honda said it would halt production at its Swindon plant for two months next year in the wake of the “dramatic change” in the global market.
British Polythene Industries said its factory in Stockton-on-Tees would close with the loss of up to 165 jobs.
Jaguar Land Rover said about 850 IT and engineering staff at plants in Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Whitley and Gaydon, all in the West Midlands, would be laid off by the end of the year.
Banking giant HSBC was to axe more than 500 jobs across the country a nd luxury car maker Aston Martin said it was planning to axe 600 full-time and temporary jobs because of the downturn in the world economy.
Car accessory retailer Halfords announced plans to shed about 250 jobs due to the impact of the economic downturn. Glasgow-based Bowie Castlebank Group went into administration with the loss of more than 800 jobs.
HM Revenue and Customs was to close more than 90 offices across the UK and axe 3,400 jobs, the Public and Commercial Services union claimed, although it was denied by the management.
Spanish banking giant Santander said it would axe 1,900 jobs in its three UK businesses next year under efficiency moves.
The number of unemployment benefit claims topped a million for the first time in eight years after a huge increase in dole queues, new figures showed.
Gloom over jobs deepened when it was announced that all 807 Woolworths stores would shut by January 5, affecting 22,000 permanent staff.
Train and bus operator National Express announced plans to cut up to 750 jobs in a bid to save £15million a year.
Fashion retailer USC went into administration, putting 300 jobs at risk.
Studio photography business Olan Mills became the latest casualty after shutting all its 34 sites across the UK.