Regional jobless total up again

THE number of people out of work in East Anglia grew by 9.4% in the three months to February, according to official figures out today. Total unemployment in the region increased by 15,000 compared with December to 175,000, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed.

THE number of people out of work in East Anglia grew by 9.4% in the three months to February, according to official figures out today.

Total unemployment in the region increased by 15,000 compared with December to 175,000, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed.

Nationally, the unemployment total grew by 177,000 to 2.1 million, which the ONS said was the biggest quarterly increase since 1991.

The figures made grim reading for Chancellor Alistair Darling ahead to today's Budget speech, with the total also being the highest since Labour came to power in 1997.

The narrower count of those entitled to claim the jobseeker's allowance also increased, for the 13th month in a row, to 1.46 million - an increase of 73,700 compared with February and the worst figure since September 1997.

A record total of 270,000 people were made redundant in the three months to February and the number of people in work fell by 126,000 to 29.27 million.

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Job vacancies fell by 68,000 in the quarter to March to a record low of 462,000.