Unemployment highest since 1997

The number of people without a job in Britain has passed the two million barrier, the highest it has been since 1997.

Unemployment levels increased by 0.5% in the three months to February 2009, with 6.5% of the population out of work. The total number unemployed increased by 165,000 over the quarter and 421,000 over the year.

British manufacturing slumps