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Breaking news: youth unemployment reaches 1.02 million, ONS figures show

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The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 24 has reached 1.02 million; figures published by the Office for National Statistics published this morning, have shown.

For the three months to September 2011 the employment rate for this group 70.2%, down 0.4 percentage points on the quarter.

The number of people in employment aged 16 and over fell by 197,000 on the quarter and by 109,000 on the year to reach 29.07 million. This is the largest quarterly fall in the number of people in employment since the three months to July 2009.

The number of employees fell by 305,000 over the quarter to reach 24.79 million. This is the largest quarterly fall in the number of employees since comparable records began in 1992. The number of self-employed people increased by 100,000 on the quarter to reach 4.09 million. This is the highest number of self-employed people since comparable records began in 1992. The number of people in other categories of employment increased by 8,000 over the quarter to reach 194,000.

The unemployment rate for the three months to September 2011 was 8.3% of the economically active population, up 0.4 on the quarter. The last time the unemployment rate was higher was in the three months to January 1996.

The total number of unemployed people increased by 129,000 over the quarter (the largest quarterly increase since the three months to July 2009) to reach 2.62 million. The number of unemployed people has not been higher since the three months to September 1994. The unemployment rate for people aged from 16 to 24 increased by 1.7 percentage points over the quarter to reach 21.9% of the economically active population for that age group. The number of unemployed people aged from 16 to 24 increased by 67,000 over the quarter to reach 1.02 million; this figure includes 286,000 people in full-time education who were looking for part-time work. The unemployment level and rate for people aged from 16 to 24 are the highest since directly comparable records began in 1992.

The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to September 2011 was 23.3%, up 0.1% on the quarter. The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 rose by 64,000 over the quarter to reach 9.36 million. This quarterly increase in economic inactivity was mainly due to an increase of 58,000 in the number of students not active in the labour market to reach 2.30 million.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "The Government has created a lost generation of young people unable to gain a foothold on the employment ladder.’ ‘Ministers need to create a land bridge of opportunity for young people – our youth unemployment rate is twice that of Germany.

"It is not only a personal tragedy for the young people concerned, but it is also a waste of talent and potential, so necessary for economic growth, and is sowing the seeds for a whole raft of future social problems.

"The government needs to adopt a twin-track policy – having more targeted measures to help young people into work, while at the same time, reversing the hardline austerity measures that have sucked the life out of the British economy.’ ‘One way forward would be to ensure that a greater percentage of apprenticeships should go to those aged under the age of 25"

The ONS also relevealed total pay (including bonuses) rose by 2.3% on a year earlier, down 0.4 on the three months to August 2011 (with both the private and public sectors showing lower pay growth).

Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.7% on a year earlier, down 0.1 percentage points on the three months to August 2011.