Unemployment spikes because of jobless young
Unemployment rose to 2.52 million between November and January, up 7,000 from October last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The unemployment rate remained at 7.8% unchanged from the previous three-month period (August to October). The number of people in work rose by 131,000 but the number of unemployed 16 to 24 year olds rose to 993,000, taking the youth unemployment rate to 21.2%.
The ONS said pay rose by 1.2% between November and January, compared to same period last year but this was wiped out by the above-target inflation of 2.7%.
This all makes grim reading for Chancellor George Osborne as he prepares to deliver his budget speech today to a bleak economic backdrop.
Moneywise will have coverage of the Budget today from 12.30pm.
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).