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Unemployment rate hits 13-year high with young adults worst affected

UNEMPLOYMENT was at its highest rate in 13 years in the three months to June while the number of unemployed hit a 14-year high of 2.435m, official figures showed yesterday. <br /><br />The Office for National Statistics said that Britain&rsquo;s jobless rate reached 7.8 per cent in the three months to June, slightly above consensus expectations of 7.7 per cent.<br /><br />Young adults aged between 18 and 24 continue to be the hardest hit. While overall numbers in work fell 1.9 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, employment of 18-24 year olds fell 5.4 per cent. <br /><br />And the narrower claimant count &ndash; which records those claiming jobless benefits &ndash; also rose in July to 1.58m, equivalent to a rate of 4.9 per cent. <br /><br />Despite signs that the worst of the recession is over, economists expect unemployment to continue rising into 2010 and to peak at just over 3m &ndash; bad timing for Prime Minister Gordon Brown who will face an election next year.<br /><br />ING&rsquo;s James Knightley said: &ldquo;The ILO figures suggest that the deterioration in the labour market is yet to show signs of stabilisation. This in turn implies downside risk to consumption and offers further justification for the Bank&rsquo;s decision to expand its QE efforts last week.&rdquo;&nbsp;