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Unemployment breaks 2.5 million barrier

Public sector job cuts imposed by the government as part of its austerity drive have driven unemployment through the 2.5 million barrier, newly released figures show.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics show that employment fell by 69,000 in the three months up to the end of July, which is as bad as it's been since the spring of 2010.

Employment minister Chris Grayling commented on the figures. He said: 'Today's figures underline the scale of the challenge that we face particularly given slower growth across Europe and North America. Unemployment remains lower than it was six months ago but clearly we must continue to focus our efforts on supporting business growth and ensure that people who do lose their jobs have the best possible support to get back into employment.'

The government had hoped that the private sector could compensate for the squeeze on the public sector.

It means that overall, joblessness rose to 7.9 percent for May to July, up from 7.7 percent from February to April.

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