By Max Clarke

Unemployment in the UK fell year-on-year from a mean 10.7% in 1993 to reach 4.7% in Mid 2005.

The rate has since edged back to its current level of 7.7%, according to figures published today by the Office for National Statistics.

The recession of the early nineties that followed in the wake of the 1992 Black Wednesday sterling crash led to spiralling unemployment, pushing jobless levels to a near 10-year high.

Since the latest recession took hold, joblessness has again climbed and in some parts has exceeded the 1993 level.

The West Midlands and Northeast have fared particularly badly with unemployment gaining 5 or more percent since 2005; whilst London and the Southeast have seen little rise in joblessness.

Benefits payments have also risen, disproportionately affecting those in lower skilled occupations- up 5% to 13.2%.

Skilled workers saw a rise in welfare claimants from 0.6 to 1.1%.

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