The the latest unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) were released at 9:30 on Wednesday morning, one hour before the Thatcher funeral. The claimed 'jobs recovery' appears to have run out of steam. Unemployment jumped by 70,000 in the three months to the end of February, amid the lowest growth in pay rises since 2001.
The number of unemployed people reached 2.56 million, with 20,000 under 25-year-olds joining the jobless ranks, pushing the unemployment rate up from 7.8% to 7.9%. It was the third consecutive increase and the highest level since July. Britain's working population is also suffering from an austerity squeeze, with the average pay rise slipping to 1%, the lowest since records began in 2001 and well short even of the 2.8% official fiddled inflation rate.
Only 88,000 new jobs were produced last month. And for the long-term unemployed, the situation under the ConDem coalition is verging on hopeless.