The latest unemployment figures have been released this morning, and it's not good news.
There were 2.62 million people unemployed people, up 129,000 on the quarter. The rate of unemployment is 8.3%, an increase of 0.4%. This is the highest unemployment rate since 1996.
In political terms, the really bad news for the coalition comes with the youth unemployment figures. Youth unemployment has increased to over a million, with 1.016m 16-24-year-olds now out of work - that's 21.9%. This is the highest level since comparable records began in 1992. Crucially for the politicians, it's now crept over the headline-friendly figure of one million.
Chris Grayling, the employment minister, has been doing interviews defending the government's plans to improve this situation. He cited the Work Programme and government work experience schemes as positive ways they are attempting to get more young people into work. Interestingly, though, he also told the BBC that the number of young people out of work wasn't as high as they had been expecting. He went on to say:
"We have a big problem with youth unemployment, but I want to put it into context. The figures today will day will show just over 1m youth who are unemployed but in reality it is more like 700,000 as there are 300,000 full-time students looking for work included in that."
Another interesting intervention on this topic comes from David Miliband. In an interview in The Times (£) this morning, he told Michael Savage that the present government did not “invent the problem of youth unemployment”, implying that Labour must take their share of the blame for these figures.
As I wrote on Monday, these figures are just one of several things that are going to obscure the growth-centric message of Osborne's autumn statement next Tuesday. Ed Balls and Labour's shadow treasury team will consider them a strong part of their rebuttal, no doubt. I'd be surprised if they chose to agree with David Miliband and accept some of the blame for this situation.