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Youth unemployment hits record high

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A record number of 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work and more people than ever are in part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time employment, a grim set of official figures revealed today.

Unemployment jumped by 44,000 in the final three months of 2010 to just under 2.5 million, a jobless rate of 7.9%.

But the youth unemployment rate is now 20.5% following a 66,000 increase to 965,000, the highest figures since records began in 1992.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased by 2,400 in January to 1.46 million, with the number of female claimants rising for the seventh month in a row to reach almost 450,000, the highest figure since 1996.

The number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time jobs increased by 44,000 to 1.19 million, the highest total since records began in 1992.

The number of people classed as economically inactive rose by 93,000 over the latest quarter to 9.36 million, a rate of 23.4%, including 1.57 million who retired before the age of 65, the highest figure since records began in 1993.

There was a 68,000 fall in employment, down to 29.12 million, according to today’s data from the Office for National Statistics.

Public sector employment fell by 33,000 to 6 million in the quarter to September, while the number of people in private firms was unchanged at 23.1 million.

The number of jobs fell by 170,000 in the year to last September to 30 million.

Long-term unemployment is getting worse, with an increase of 17,000 in the number of people out of work for over a year, to 833,000.

Average earnings increased by 1.8% in the year to December, down by 0.3% on the previous month, giving average weekly pay of £430.

Ministers said they welcomed news that the labour market was “stabilising” after a “difficult” last few months, pointing out that there has been a sharp jump in the number of vacancies to half a million across the country, the highest in two years.

The government said it reaffirmed its commitment to tackling the youth unemployment problem it inherited, including helping the 600,000 young people who have never held down a job since leaving school or college.


Unemployment in the regions between October and December 2010 was:

RegionTotalChange UnemploymentUnemployed on Quarter Rate (%)
North-east129,000plus 13,00010.2%
North-west258,000minus 19,0007.5%
Yorkshire/Humber244,000plus 8,0009.3%
East Midlands185,000plus 3,0008.0%
West Midlands261,000plus 28,0009.8%
East198,000minus 1,0006.6%
London373,000minus 1,0009.0%
South-east273,000minus 5,0006.1%
South-west165,000plus 17,0006.1%
Wales123,000plus 5,0008.4%
Scotland216,000minus 13,0008.0%
N Ireland68,000plus 9,0008.0%
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