19 Mar 2009

UK unemployment passes 2 million

10:45 am on 19 March 2009

Unemployment in Britain is now above two million for the first time since 1997.

The Office for National Statistics says the number of people unemployed during the three months to January, totalled 2.03 million, up by 165,000.

The BBC reports the number of people getting jobseeker's allowance rose in February, by a record 138,400 to 1.39 million.

The unemployment rate jumped to 6.5% between November - January.

The TUC claimed earlier this week there are now 10 jobseekers for every vacancy advertised in UK jobcentres.

Separate reports by the British Chambers of Commerce and CBI have predicted that UK unemployment will be above three million in 2010.

Britain is currently in its first recession since 1991.