By Max Clarke

Unemployment is on the rise again; climbing by 0.1%, or 27,000 people, in the three months ending January, to 8% overall according to the latest labour market figures published today by the Office for National Statistics.

The annual earnings rate growth rose from 1.8% in the previous quarter, to 2.3%- though this figure remains below both consumer and retail price inflation indices.

Numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell overall by 10,200, though female claimants rose by 7,300.

Liz Field, Chief Executive of the Financial Skills Partnership, comments on the figures, arguing that it is critical for employers to invest in training and skills in order to stimulate the economy and support the UK out of recession:

“As highlighted in the recent Wolf review vocation-based training such as apprenticeships can provide a vital lifeline for a growing generation of young people who need to be fully engaged with the economy. Employers can stand to harvest a myriad of benefits if they are able to be bold and invest in this talent, which has the potential to drive growth and profitability.”