UNEMPLOYMENT hit a 17-year high after more than 100,000 people joined the ranks of those looking for work.
Youth unemployment reached a record high of 991,000, while the numbers claiming jobseeker’s allowance increased for the seventh month running to 1.6m.
Other figures showed a 178,000 slump in the number of people in employment during the three months to August – the biggest fall in more than two years. The number in part-time work fell by a record 175,000.
The gloomy figures were unveiled as the Government launched work academies to offer training and a guaranteed job interview to up to 50,000 people.
The Employment Secretary, Chris Grayling, said that what the UK was now seeing was “the impact of the international financial crisis”.
Ministers claim that – coupled with the Work Programme and the Work Experience scheme – the new work academies will support up to 150,000 young people over the next few months and 250,000 over the next two years.
Industries covered by the work academies include construction, hospitality, logistics, retail and contact centres, where the Government said there were tens of thousands of job vacancies.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed UK quarterly unemployment rose by 114,000 to 2.57m, the worst figure since autumn of 1994.
The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 74,000 over the latest quarter to 991,000 – a rate of 21.3% and the highest total since comparable records began in 1992.
Other figures showed that the number of people classed as economically inactive rose by 26,000 to 9.35m, a rate of 23.3%.
Taking the inactivity rate and the new jobless figures together, half of 16 to 24-year-olds are now not employed, it was revealed.
The claimant count, covering those on jobseeker’s allowance, increased by 17,500 in September to 1.6m, the seventh consecutive monthly rise and the highest total since the beginning of last year.
However, there were contrasting trends for local constituencies. The Huddersfield claimant count in September was up by just one compared with the previous month at 3,827 while the Colne Valley count rose by 32 to 2,664. The Dewsbury tally was 58 lower at 2,684.
The quarterly total for Yorkshire rose by about 32,000 to 259,000 or 9.7% of the working age population.
The national figures showed that about 150,000 people were made redundant in the latest three months, an increase of 6,000 over the previous quarter.
The number of unemployed 16 and 17-year-olds increased by 3,000 to 205,000, while long-term unemployment, counting those out of work for more than a year, rose by 60,000 to 867,000.
Employment fell by 178,000 to 29.1m, the biggest quarterly fall since the summer of 2009, while part-time employment dipped by a record 175,000 to 7.78m.