The latest unemployment statistics show that the number of women out of work now totals 1.02m, a rise of 31,000 on the last quarter and the highest number since 1988.

The figures came out in the new Office for National Statistics data which showed that unemployment as a whole actually fell, by 9,000 in the three months to September. However, it is the new high in female unemployment which will grab most of the headlines with some warning that the government’s spending cuts are already having an impact on public sector jobs with more women losing out as a result.

The General Secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber, said: “Female unemployment has been rising for over a year and hit a 22-year high this autumn. Women look likely to suffer rising joblessness for some time to come.”

The ONS figures were also notable for a significant fall of 62,000 in the number of full-time posts whereas part-time positions rose by 94,000. Jobs in the public sector were down by 22,000 while posts in private firms rose by 308,000.