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Unemployment level hits record high

Thursday March 17th 2011

The unemployment rate has hit a 17-year high with 2.53 million people now out of work, figures reveal.

In the quarter to January there was an increase of 27,000 in the number of people unemployed.

The jobless total is the worst it has been since records began in 1994.

There was an increase of 30,000 in the number of 16 to 24-year-olds not working, taking the total to 974,000, which is the highest since records began in 1992.

The percentage of young people unemployed rose by 0.8% to 20.6%, which also amounts to a new record high.

The number of people classed as economically inactive also increased - up by 43,000 to 9.33 million, including 2.3 million looking after a family.

The total claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 10,200 last month to 1.45 million, the biggest reduction since last June.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that male claimants fell by 17,500 - the 13th consecutive monthly fall - while female claimants increased by 7,300 - the eighth monthly rise in a row.

Other data revealed that the number of over-65s in work increased by 56,000 in the latest quarter to reach 900,000, the highest since records began in 1992.

There was also a record number of 50 to 64-year-olds in work - up by 25,000 to 7.3 million.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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