UNEMPLOYMENT has soared to its highest level since Labour came to power in 1997, latest figures have revealed.
The number of people looking for work soared by 177,000 in the three months to February to reach 2.1m – the biggest quarterly rise since 1991.
The total is the worst since February, 1997, a few months before Labour won the general election.
The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance increased for the 13th month in a row in March – up by 73,700 to 1.46m, the highest total since September, 1997.
The claimant count also soared among local constituencies.
The Huddersfield figure rose by 124 to 3,337 during March while the Colne Valley total was up by 156 to 2,351.
The tally for Dewsbury was up by 93 to stand at 2,589.
Unemployment in Yorkshire last month rose by 14,000 to stand at 191,000 – representing 7.3% of the working age population.
Other gloomy figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a further big fall manufacturing jobs.
They also recorded a record low number of vacancies and the lowest rise in average earnings since 1991.
The number of adults classed as economically inactive – including people on long-term sick leave, those taking early retirement or who have given up looking for work – now stands at 7.85m or 20% of the working age population.
The UK now has an unemployment rate of 6.7%, the highest since the summer of 1997.
The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 139,000 in the quarter to February, compared to the previous year, to reach a record low of 2.75m.
Job vacancies fell by 68,000 in the quarter to March to a record low of 462,000, while a record 270,000 people were made redundant in the three months to February.
The ONS also reported a fall in the number of people in work in the quarter to February, down by 126,000 to 29.27m, the lowest since last autumn.