HOPES for economic recovery were dealt a blow as official figures revealed an unexpected rise in the number of unemployed people.
The country’s jobless total rose by 38,000 to stand at 2.49m between April and June, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Economists had expected a fall of about 10,000.
Within the figures, the number of unemployed women hit levels not seen in more than 23 years.
Elsewhere, the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance showed the biggest monthly rise in more than two years, increasing by 37,100 to 1.56m.
Among local constituencies, Huddersfield saw the claimant count rose by 183 to 3,722 with Colne Valley up by 125 to 2,580 and the Dewsbury jobless tally up by 120 to 2,659.
However, the average quarterly unemployment rate for Yorkshire fell by 21,000 or 8.5% to 223,000.
Average earnings increased by 2.6% in the year to June – up by 0.3% over the previous month and the largest rise since April last year – to bring the average weekly wage to £462.
The increase was driven by a bumper period for private sector bonuses and still falls far behind the high rate of inflation, which stood at 4.2% in June and increased to 4.4% in July.
The latest jobless figures come as Chancellor George Osborne rolls out tough public sector spending cuts – which include hundreds of thousands of job losses.
Mr Osborne is banking on a healthy private sector to pick up the slack in the economy – but recent figures showing sluggish 0.2% growth in the second quarter have raised fears over the strength of the recovery.
The ONS figures showed the number of people unemployed for up to six months rose by 66,000 over the quarter to reach 1.23m – the largest quarterly increase in two years.
The number of unemployed men increased by 18,000 to 1.45m, while the number of jobless women increased by 21,000 to 1.05m – the highest figure since May, 1988.
The number of employees working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 83,000 on the quarter to reach 1.26 – the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.