Economy: UK unemployment hits 17-year high

UNEMPLOYMENT in the UK has hit a 17-year high, official figures revealed today, with the total rising by 128,000 to 2.64million.

The unemployment rate is now 8.3%, up 0.4% on the previous quarter and the highest since 1996, while the jobless total is now worse than at any time since 1994.

The narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance also increased for the ninth consecutive month, rising by 3,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1.6million – its highest since the start of 2010.

Unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds increased by 54,000 to 1.03million, the most since records began in 1992.

However, there was a mixed picture at local level, where the figures are not adjusted for normal season variations and are therefore more volatile.

Most parts of Suffolk saw an increase in the claimant count with the worst hit areas being Babergh, where the count rose by 52 to 1,227 (an unemployment rate of 2.4%), Forest Heath, up 26 to 853 (2.1%) and Suffolk Coastal, up 11 to 1,446 (2.0%).

In each case, the increase represented a rise in the unemployment rate of 0.1 of a percentage point.

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Smaller increases left the rates unchanged in Ipswich, up 15 to 4,143 (4.9%) and Waveney, up 38 to 2,962 (4.2%).

But the count dipped in both Mid Suffolk, by 14 to 1,203 (2.1%), and St Edmundsbury, down 18 to 1,559 (2.4%), although the rate was unchanged in each case.

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