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Jobless total grows by 25,000

Unemployment has continued to grow throughout the UK for the second month in a row, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

From April to June 2015, there were 25,000 more people unemployed than in January-March, amounting to a total of 1.85 million unemployed jobseekers.

Unemployment has been on an upwards slope since July’s publication showed the first quarterly rate increase in more than two years.

However, this month’s figures still represented an improvement from a year earlier, with 221,000 fewer people unemployed now.

The publication reiterated the significant drop in public sector employment recorded in March, down by 10,000 compared with December of last year and 42,000 compared with a year earlier.

Meanwhile private sector employment increased by 124,000 also in comparison with December 2014, and by nearly half a million compared with a year earlier.

Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, praised the wage growth and said “hardworking people” would see a “real difference in their pay packets”.

However his Labour counterpart Stephen Timms MP, acting shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “The rise in unemployment for a second month in a row is worrying and shows we cannot afford to be complacent about the recovery. With productivity stagnating, David Cameron and George Osborne must take bolder action to raise jobseekers’ skill levels to get more back into work and help build the high-skilled workforce Britain needs.

“The rise in youth unemployment highlights a real danger that young people are being left behind. Ministers must urgently deliver more high-quality apprenticeships to give young people the skills they need to get a job and build a future.”

Despite the growing number of unemployed people, pay rates increased by 2.8% between April and June of this year – the same growth rate as measured earlier in the year between March and May. But public sector wage rises remain frozen at 1%.

Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s pay recovery looks set to continue throughout 2015, helped along by historically low inflation. But with average earnings having only recovered to their August 2004 level, there is still a huge amount of ground to make up.

“It’s a concern that the employment recovery isn’t doing more to boost the pace at which people move jobs. This needs to increase before we can expect to see strong real wage growth over the medium term.”

(Top image c. Helen Cobain)


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