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UK jobless rate lowest since early 2006

Press Association logoPress Association 18/01/2017

Unemployment in Britain has fallen to its lowest total for more than a decade, but the number of people in work has also dropped.

The jobless total was 1.6 million in the quarter to November, down by 52,000 on the previous three months to its lowest since early 2006.

The UK now has one of the lowest jobless rates in Europe at 4.8 per cent, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

But the numbers in work fell by 9,000 to 31.8 million, the lowest since last autumn, although the employment rate of 74.5 per cent is the joint highest level on record.

The number of people classed as economically inactive has increased by 85,000 to almost 8.9 million - the biggest quarterly rise since 2014.

The figure includes students, people looking after family, on long-term sick leave, or who have given up looking for a job.

The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.2 per cent to 21.7 per cent, the highest since last spring.

Average earnings increased by 2.8 per cent in the year to November, up by 0.2 per cent on the previous month.

David Freeman, senior statistician at the ONS, said: "While employment is little changed on the quarter, the rate remains at an historic high.

"The rate at which pay is increasing continues to pick up in cash terms, though it remains moderate."

There were 1.15 million people in part-time jobs who wanted full-time work in the latest quarter, an increase of 7,000 over the previous three months, but down by 99,000 on the year.

The claimant count fell by 10,100 last month to 797,800, the lowest since last September, although it increased by 600 among women.

More than 23 million people work full-time, 209,000 more than a year ago, while part-time employees have risen by 86,000 to 8.5 million.

The number of job vacancies in the economy fell by 5,000 to 748,000.

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