British official unemployment posts two-year leap

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The number of people unemployed in Britain jumped to 2.51 million in the three months to July after public sector cuts caused the biggest rise for almost two years, official data showed on Wednesday.

The jobless total rose by 80,000 during the period -- the biggest quarterly increase since August 2009, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

The unemployment rate was steady at 7.9 percent.

Youth unemployment, or the number of 16 to 24 year-olds without a job, climbed by 78,000 to stand at 972,000 in the three months to July.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling told Sky News television: "Clearly I regret job losses in the public sector. I wish this didn't have to happen (...) But the reality is we are having to take tough and difficult decisions.

"They are decisions we would rather not have had to take. But if we don't take them, we are going to end up in the kind of predicament that some other countries are in, where they've just borrowed far too much money."

© 2011 AFP

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