14/08/2013 06:09 BST | Updated 14/08/2013 06:57 BST

Youth And Long-Term Unemployment Soars While Claimant Count Falls

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY JANUARY 29File photo dated 18/03/09 of a general view of a Job Centre as youth unemployment has increased in the UK at a faster rate than any country in the G8 since the start of the recession and cannot be blamed solely on the economic downturn, according to a new report.

Youth unemployment and the amount of people without work for over two years have shot up, official figures released have shown.

Unemployment among 16-21 year olds has increased by 15,000 to 973,000 over January to March 2013.

Meanwhile, the number of people without work, classed as long-term unemployment, rose by 10,000 to 474,000, the highest since 1997.

In good news for the coalition, the number of people claiming jobseekers' allowance has fallen to its lowest level in over four years, tumbling 29,200 in July to 1.4 million, the lowest level since February 2009.

Total unemployment fell by 4,000 in the quarter leading up to June to 2.51 million. However, this coincides with economists' predictions that unemployment still stay stubbornly around 8% until 2015.

The latest unemployment figures will also attract interest after Bank of England governor Mark Carney pledged in his 'forward guidance' to start considering increasing interest rates once unemployment falls to 7%, which would require an extra 750,000 jobs to be made.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The jobs news is mixed. A further rise in employment is encouraging but the number of young people out of work is creeping back towards a million."

The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.3%, virtually unchanged from January to March 2013 but down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier, according to ONS figures.

The number of people aged 16 and over in work increased by 69,000 from January to March 2013, up 301,000 from a year before.

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.5%, up 0.1% from January to March 2013 and up 0.4% from a year earlier.