Unemployment in the UK rises to 2.56 million

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that UK unemployment rose by 70,000 to 2.56 million between December and February. The unemployment rate for the first quarter was 7.9%.

Other figures released show that average earnings rose by 0.8% in the year to February, the lowest growth rate since 2009.

The number of people in work dropped to just under 30 million, this first time the figure has dipped since August 2011.

The ONS figures also revealed that 900,000 people have been out of work for more than a year, while the number of 16 – 24 year olds out of work rose by 20,000 to 979,000.

Alan Clarke, economist at Scotiabank, said: “It’s not a disaster, but a lot of the froth and really good news we had over the last year on jobs is becoming exhausted, which shouldn’t be a surprise when there is not much growth around.”

Despite the increase in unemployment, the total is 71,000 lower than a year ago. The number of people in part time jobs has fallen by 62,000, while the number of people in full time jobs has increased by 60,000, taking the total of people employed full time to 21.6million.

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