UK unemployment rises to 2.7 million
UK unemployment rose by 118,000 in the three months to November to 2.7 million.
The unemployment rate also rose to 8.4% from 8.3% - the highest rate since January 1996, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in December rose by 1,200 to 1.6 million – a smaller rise than expected and November's figure has also been revised down by 200.
"Inflation may be coming down, and the Bank of England is breathing a little more easily, but on the high street it's as bleak as ever," says Nick O'Reilly, a business recovery specialist at chartered accountants HW Fisher & Company.
"The Christmas period saw several high profile retail names go to the wall, and now public sector redundancies are progressively kicking in."
The latest unemployment statistics also showed a bleak picture for the younger generation. The number of young people without a job rose to just over one million in the three months to November, taking the unemployment rate in the 16 – 24 year-old age group to 22.3%.
To add to the gloom, the number of Brits who are ‘under-employed' - working part-time because they cannot find full-time work - has jumped by 44,000 in the quarter to hit 1.3 million, the highest figure since records began in 1992.
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).