Unemployment In North East Up By 12,000

Official figures show unemployment in the North East has increased by 8.8%.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data revealed that a total of 148,000 people were unemployed in the region between August and October, 12,000 more than in the previous quarter.

The region's unemployment rate was 11.7%.

Nationwide, unemployment reached a 17-year high after another 128,000 joined the jobless ranks, taking the total to 2.64 million.

A series of grim figures delivered a pre-Christmas blow to the Government, with youth and female unemployment showing big rises and the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increasing for the ninth month in a row.

Travel giant Thomas Cook added to the gloom by announcing more than 600 job losses and 115 shop closures.

Employment fell by 63,000 in the quarter to October to 29.11 million, while the number of people working in the public sector dipped below six million for the first time since 2003.

The unemployment rate is now 8.3%, up 0.4% on the quarter - the highest since 1996 - while the jobless total is now worse than at any time since 1994.

Unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds increased by 54,000 to 1.03 million, the highest since records began in 1992.

The ONS also reported that women's unemployment increased by 45,000 to 1.1 million, the highest figure since 1988. The number of people out of work for longer than a year rose by 19,000 in the latest quarter to 868,000, the worst figure since 1996.