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UK unemployment at 17 year high

The unemployment rate in the UK has reached 8.4 per cent of the economically active population, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate.

This means unemployment has now peaked at its highest level since 1995, leaving 2.67 million people unemployed, according to the ONS's official International Labour Organisation measure.

1.04 million young people continue to feel the affects the worst with 22.2 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds out of work.

Although figures show that the number of unemployed individuals were up 48,000 since the previous quarter, the measure does however indicate that this number is slowing compared to last June when the job market deteriorated sharply.

Talking to the BBC, work and pensions minister Lord Freud, said: "This clearly shows we are by no means out of the woods yet. But it is quite a mixed picture. There are signs of stability. The inactivity level is coming down."

ONS data also showed that total pay, including bonuses, had risen by 2 per cent from the previous year - still well below the rate of inflation which fell to 3.6 per cent this week.

In a statement, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the 'true scale' of UK joblessness sat at 6.3 million, when calculating figures using America's unemployment formula which takes into account underemployment and those forced to work part time because full-time work is not available.

The ONS figures also highlighted that the number of workers resorting to part-time because they could not find a full-time job had increased by 83,000, reaching 1.35 million - the highest figure since records began in 1992.

The TUC now wants urgent Government stimulus to boost jobs in the private sector and solve the UK's labour market problems.