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The Office for National Statistics has revealed that the UK unemployment total rose unexpectedly in the three months to June, by 38,000 to 2.49m.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by 37,100 in July to 1.56 million, its biggest increase since May 2009. The claimant count has now risen for five months in a row to its highest level since February 2010.
The increase in unemployment came as a surprise to economists, as most had predicted a further fall in the number of people without work.
Chancellor George Osborne admitted the unemployment figures were 'disappointing', but said they were not surprising. "With what is going on in the world economy and with world markets, they are not entirely unexpected," he said.
He added that the government was continuing efforts to help create new jobs, highlighting Wednesday's announcement of 11 new 'enterprise zones'. These are designed to boost local economic growth and create more than 30,000 new jobs by 2015.