PM 'concerned' at jobless increase
Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted he is concerned about unemployment after the Government received grim pre-Christmas jobs news, including a near-record number of young people out of work.
The jobless total jumped by 35,000 in the quarter to October to 2.5 million, a rate of 7.9% and the highest since the start of the year, while the numbers out of work for over 12 months rose by 41,000 to 839,000 -the worst figure since 1997.
Union leaders warned of "troubled times" ahead especially with huge job losses expected in the public sector in future, while a leading analyst said the figures offer "no joy and very little comfort".
Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the PM of complacency on jobs, saying he seemed to be trying to "paint himself as an innocent bystander".
But Mr Cameron told the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions: "Of course anyone should be concerned, and I am concerned by a rise in unemployment.
"We have got to get the private sector going, increase the number of jobs that are available. Over the last six months, we have seen 300,000 new private sector jobs. We need more of them, and keeping the economy out of the danger zone is the way to get them."
The Office for National Statistics reported that the number of 16 to 24 year olds out of work had increased by 28,000 to 943,000, one of the highest figures since records began in 1992, giving a youth jobless rate of 19.8%.
Male unemployment increased by 11,000 to 1.46 million, while the number of women out of work rose by 24,000 to 1.04 million, the highest total since 1988.
There was also a rise in the number of people classed as economically inactive, including people looking after a sick relative, students or those who have given up looking for a job, up by 22,000 to 9.29 million, a rate of 23.2%.
The category showing the biggest increase was those who have taken early retirement, which rose by 27,000 to 1.53 million, while the number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 46,000 to 1.16 million - also a record high.