UNEMPLOYMENT in the UK rose by 28,000 in the last three months, to 2.67 million.
Youth joblessness soared by another 16,000, with the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds rising to 1.042 million.
Youth unemployment is up another 0.4% in the last quarter to 22.5% and unemployment among 16 to 17-year-olds has hit a record high of 39.4%, while for 18 to 24-year-olds it has broken through 20% for the first time ever at 20.2%.
In the last year public sector employment was down by 270,000.
The wider measure of unemployment – including part-time workers wanting full-time posts, and temporary staff wanting permanent work – is now 6.35 million, while the number of job vacancies is 473,000 – 20,000 lower than a year earlier.
There has been a rise of more than 160,000 in people claiming jobseekers allowance in the last year.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘One week before chancellor George Osborne’s budget, this further rise in unemployment shows yet again that austerity isn’t working and the government is doing the complete opposite of what our economy needs.’
The union will be protesting opposite Downing Street on budget day 21 March, between 11.30am and 1.30pm.
Unison General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said: ‘Since the coalition came to power, one public sector job has been lost every 2 minutes and 18 seconds. That’s 625 public sector workers joining the dole queues every single day.’
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘These shocking figures show that this Tory-led government have no shame when it comes to smashing up communities and wrecking lives in the name of bailing out the bankers’ economic crisis.
‘This is class-war cooked up on the playing fields of Eton.’
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The jobs news gets worse for young people. We cannot afford to see fresh records broken in youth joblessness with such depressing frequency.’
Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘What these appalling unemployment figures show is that next week’s budget needs to be about jobs and growth.’
‘What we are proposing for the budget can be divided into three distinct areas: growth and jobs; wage and tax justice; and fairness at work.’
Up and down the country workers are proposing that the TUC leaders get off their knees and organise action to bring the Cameron-led coalition down.