Jobless total increases to 2.5m in first rise for a year

 

Unemployment has increased for the first time in a year, delivering a pre-Budget blow to the Government.

The jobless total jumped by 7,000 to 2.52 million, ending a run of reductions, with all the increase caused by more 18 to 24-year-olds becoming unemployed.

The total is still 152,000 lower than a year ago, while the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell in February by 1,500 to 1.54 million, the fourth consecutive monthly reduction.

There were 993,000 jobless 16 to 24-year-olds in the latest quarter to January, up by 48,000 from the three months to October, but the rise among 18 to 24-year-olds was 53,000.

The number of unemployed women increased by 5,000, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Other figures revealed that public sector employment fell for the 13th consecutive quarter, by 20,000 to 5.7 million, the lowest for over a decade.

Local government employment fell by 32,000 and civil service jobs by 4,000, but the figure increased by 11,000 in central government.

Employment in private companies increased by 151,000 to 24 million.

The number of people out of work for between six and 12 months increased by 5,000 to 447,000, but fell by 16,000 for those unemployed for over a year to 887,000.

There were 29.7 million people in work, up by 590,000 on a year ago.

There were 8.9 million people classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a relative or who had given up looking for a job, a fall of 118,000.

Total pay rose by 1.2 per cent in the year to January, down by 0.1 per cent on the previous month and less than half the rate of inflation.

The unemployment rate remained at 7.8 per cent, compared with 8.3 per cent a year ago.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: "It's a credit to businesses that the private sector is employing one and a quarter million more people than when this Government took office, helping us compete in the global race.

"Today's figures show that, against a difficult economic backdrop, we're helping people to move off benefits and into work.

"There are still tough challenges ahead which is why we're working hard to give jobseekers all the help and support they need to realise their aspiration of finding a job."

The Government said today's figures showed there were more people working in the private sector than at any time since records began, after a 700,000 increase over the last year.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said: "This time five years ago there were one million fewer unemployed people in the UK. The Government has failed every single one of these people - and it has failed our country.

"Every redundancy is a personal tragedy and brings with it hardship for the whole family, and the story behind each job lost in the public sector is one of libraries closing, day care centres shutting, fewer nurses on the wards or young people losing vital careers advice and help.

"Instead of the bedroom tax or cutting child benefit, the Government could dramatically reduce the welfare bill by getting people back to work. It must start by stemming the tide of public sector job losses that are so damaging to our country."

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "That there is still mass unemployment, in the sixth year of recession, shows that the Government is following the wrong economic policy.

"The political stagnation in the Coalition is such that, while the OBR said that public spending cuts would deflate GDP by 2.7%, no-one seriously expects a U-turn in today's Budget.

"Vince Cable huffs and puffs but that is about it. The young people are the ones paying the highest price for this madness."

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince's Trust charity, said: "Youth unemployment is now back on the rise, and urgent action is needed before thousands more young people find themselves out of work.

"With help from the Government and employers, we now plan to increase our support to give hope to struggling young people across the UK."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
people
News
20. Larry Page: Net worth: $23 billion; Country: U.S; Source of wealth: Google
business
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A collection of 30 Banksy prints at Bonhams auction house in London
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness