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Unemployment reaches 17-year high

Some 2.57 million out of work


New figures show that 2.57 million people are out of work

UK employment rose by 114,000 between June and August to reach a new peak of 2.57 million – its highest level for 17 years – according to figures from The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Unemployment figures rise

The rise in the number of people out of work meant that the unemployment rate also increased to 8.1%. The number of people out of work and claiming benefits rose by 17,500 to 1.6 million.

Youth unemployment (those aged 16-24 who are out of work) is particularly worrying and reached a record high of 991,000. This represents a rate of 21.3% and is the highest total since comparable records began in 1992. 

The number of those in part-time work fell by 175,000 and at the other end of the age scale there was a reduction of 74,000 in the number of over-65s in employment.

International crisis adds to problem

Employment minister Chris Grayling said of the latest figures: ‘It is clear that we are seeing the effect of the international economic crisis on the UK labour market.

‘That’s why last week we announced the right-to-buy housing scheme to support growth and today we are offering more support for jobseekers as sector-based work academies come on stream, combining real training, work experience and a guaranteed interview.

‘Our new Work Programme is now up and running and offers people who have lost their jobs flexible, tailored support to get back into jobs and stay there.’

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne, commented: ‘Today’s figures are the clearest proof yet that the government’s decision to cut too far and too fast is hurting and just not working. Unemployment is soaring, and more young people are out of work than ever before.’

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