UNEMPLOYMENT has increased by 43,000 between to a 16-year high of to 2.5 million, according official figures.
That represents an eight per cent jobless total.
The the number of people classed as economically inactive also reached record levels, the figures – which cover the period from December to February – show.
Meanwhile, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 32,900 last month to 1.54m, the Office for National Statistics said.
Youth unemployment rose with 929,000 16 to 24-year-olds out of work in the December to February period – 4,000 more than the the previous three months.
The jobless total in the over-50s rose by 7,000 to 396,000.