Unemployment at 15 year high

Figures set to reveal 2.5 million people out of work

Figures released today are expected to show the number of unemployed people in Britain has hit 2.5 million, a 15 year high.

Although recent signs, such as the banks starting to make profits again, imply that the recession may have passed it's worst phase, unemployment figures traditionally lag behind.

The three months to May saw a rise of 281,000 in unemployment rates, bringing the number to 2.38 million. Experts expect a similar scale of increase in the quarter to June.

Unemployment is rising fastest among those aged 18 to 24, with a current jobless rate of one in six. Economists predict that youth unemployment will reach 1 million this autumn as a new batch of school and college leavers flood the jobs market.

These grim figures come as the governments prepares to investigate why the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, and the wider Labour Force Survery (LFS) measure have been diverging. The claimant count is showing a slow down in the rate of increase while the LFS is increasing at a record pace.

Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman, Steve Webb, said: "Three quarters of a million people are missing out on unemployment benefit despite being classified as out of work on internationally accepted definitions.

"Families who have lost a second income stream and are unable to meet their mortgage repayments need help. Government schemes need to be beefed up so households get the support they need to avoid repossession."