LONDON (AP) -- Britain's number of jobless increased by 220,000 in the three months to June, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest since 1995 as companies continued to lay off workers amid the recession, official figures showed Wednesday.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of people out of work increased to 2.43 million, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, while those with a job fell by 271,000 to 28.9 million.
The figures are likely to put pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has described unemployment levels as unacceptable.
The figures did show some positive trends, with a slowdown in the number of redundancies -- down by 9,000 quarter-on-quarter to 277,000 in the three months to June.
"The outlook for the labor market still looks pretty horrible, despite mounting signs that the economy could achieve modest growth in the third quarter," Howard Archer, an economist with IHS Global Insight, said in a statement. "Unemployment still seems likely to rise above 3 million in 2010 and could yet reach 3.2 million."
Archer said that even if the economy does return to growth in the third quarter, it likely will not be robust enough to prevent further net job losses.
"In fact, we suspect that unemployment will rise for the rest of this year and much, if not all, of 2010." Archer wrote.
Vacancies fell to a record low of 427,000 in the three months to July, down by 26,000 on the previous quarter.