unemploymentOffice of National Statistics (ONS) figures have today revealed that the number of unemployed people in the UK has increased to 2.52 million.

The latest official labour market data shows that unemployment rose by 15,000 and employment fell by 43,000 in the three months to March, with the unemployment rate now standing at 7.8%.

Commenting on the figures, Neil Carberry, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Director for Employment & Skills, said:

“Given the challenging economic conditions at the end of last year, it’s unsurprising that we’re now seeing fewer people in work.

“What’s encouraging, however, is that economic conditions seem to be improving and that full time jobs are still being created.

“With these figures showing the highest number of vacancies since 2008, this reflects businesses’ more positive view of the year ahead.”

The figures also found that the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds fell by 17,000 to 958,000, while those of working age classed as economically inactive, including students, people on long-term sick leave and people who have given up looking for work, rose by 47,000 to nine million.

Despite today’s increase in unemployment, the total is 92,000 lower than a year ago, and Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, said:

“We are seeing continuing falls in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance which is positive. Whilst there has been a disappointing increase in the headline rate of unemployment, we shouldn’t forget the progress we are making.

“We are not complacent. To win the global race we need to do all that we can to help people achieve their aspiration to look after themselves and their families.”