LONDON—Britain’s economic outlook has grown bleaker, with new figures showing unemployment edging up to 7.9 per cent—the worst rate for almost a year.
The Office of National Statistics says unemployment increased by 70,000 between December 2012 and this February. Wednesday’s data shows the number of 16-24 year olds out of work rose by 20,000 to 979,000.
The numbers are certain to put more pressure on policymakers. The Bank of England released minutes of its April meeting that showed the Monetary Policy Committee divided over how to bolster the economy.
The bank has kept its interest rate at 0.5 per cent since March 2009 and pursued a 375 billion pound quantitative easing program. Minutes show that Gov. Mervyn King pushed for an increase of 25 billion pounds, but was outvoted 6-3.