18 January 2012
UK unemployment has risen by 118,000 in the 3 months to November 2011 to 2.685 million, official figures show.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate also rose to 8.4% from 8.3%, the highest since January 1996.
The number of people on Jobseeker's Allowance in December 2011 rose by 1,200 to 1.6 million and the number of young people seeking employment hit a record of 1.043m, taking the rate for 16-24 year-olds to 22.3%, the highest since 1992.
The number of people in employment rose marginally in the 3 months to November 2011 by 18,000 to 29.119 million.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said the figures were not good news: "Any increase in unemployment is disappointing and obviously a tragedy for the person who becomes unemployed - that is why we are taking action to get people back to work".
He pointed to an increase in the number of people in work, to new private sector jobs and a small fall in the long-term unemployed.
But the figures showed the private sector was not compensating for job losses in the public sector, with the private sector creating 5,000 in the period, while 67,000 public sector jobs were lost.
The general secretary of the GMB union, Paul Kenny, blamed the government for the increase, saying: "This rise in unemployment was made in Downing Street. The truth is that jobs are hemorrhaging in the public and private sectors and no one in the government seems to know what to do to stop this."
And Martina Milburn, the chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said the situation was grave for young people: "Unemployment can have a devastating effect, not just on future job and wage prospects, but also damaging well-being and mental health.
"Our research shows that unemployed young people are feeling less confident about the future than they did this time last year. The Government must work together with charities and employers on courses that are proven to help young people into jobs."
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