UK: Blow for economy as unemployment rises

UK: Britain’s economic recovery hopes were dealt a blow today as official figures revealed an unexpected increase in the number of unemployed people.

The country’s jobless rate stood at 2.49 million or 7.9 per cent between April and June, the Office for National Statistics said, after the total number of unemployed increased by 38,000. Economists had expected a fall of around 10,000.

Within the figures, the number of unemployed women hit levels not seen in more than 23 years.

Elsewhere, the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance showed the biggest monthly rise in more than two years, increasing by 37,100 to 1.56 million people.

Average earnings increased by 2.6pc in the year to June, up by 0.3 percentage points over the previous month, with weekly wages now averaging �462.

While this was the largest rise since April last year, the increase in average wages was driven by a bumper period for private sector bonuses and still falls far behind the high rate of inflation, which stood at 4.2pc in June and increased to 4.4pc in July.