Number of individuals out of work hits a 16-year high

The number of unemployed in the UK has hit 2.5 million, the highest since 1994.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that between December and February 43,000 more individuals were out of work compared with the three months to December.

The unemployment rate was 8% for the three months to February, up 0.1% on the previous three months.

The number of people out of work for more than a year increased by 89,000 over the quarter to reach 726,000, while the number of those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance dropped between February and March to 1.54 million.

Arek Ohanissian, economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, says: “The second consecutive monthly fall in the claimant count suggests the economy has potentially turned the corner.

“But the fact that employment has yet to rise and unemployment is at its highest in over a decade point to weakness in the labour market.”