Unemployment rises to 2.1 million people

Unemployment has risen to 2.1 million people, 6.7% of the UK working population.

The number of unemployed people increased by 177,000 over the quarter and by 486,000 over the year.

The unemployment level and rate have not been higher since 1997.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit was 1.46 million in March 2009. It is up 73,700 over the previous month and up 672,100 over the year. The claimant count has not been higher since September 1997.

The redundancies level for the three months to February 2009 was 270,000, up 45,000 over the quarter and up 162,000 over the year. This is the highest figure since comparable records began in 1995.