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Youth unemployment 'through roof'

Youth unemployment has "gone through the roof", with a huge increase in the number of long-term jobless since the coalition came to power, Labour has said.

The Opposition said the number of 18 to 24-year-olds out of work for over a year had jumped from 25,800 in April 2010 to over 73,500 now.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: "David Cameron is letting down a generation of young people who have been out of work for more than a year and struggle to find work.

"Youth unemployment has gone through the roof under this Government, and ministers have failed to produce an alternative to Labour's successful Future Jobs Fund.

"We desperately need a change of direction.

"Labour would take decisive action to get young people into work with a compulsory jobs guarantee to give the long-term unemployed a job, which they will have to take up or lose their benefits."

Long-term youth unemployment was over 9,700 in Yorkshire and the Humber, over 9,600 in the North West, just over 9,000 in the West Midlands, and almost 7,000 in Scotland and London, Labour's analysis of official figures showed.

The latest unemployment statistics showed there were 979,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds in the quarter to February, up by 20,000 on the previous three months.

The unemployment rate for the age group was 21.1%.

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