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U.K. Jobless Total Falls, Employment At Record High

U.K. Jobless Total Falls, Employment At Record High

U.K. employment total increased to a record high during three months ended November after people out of work decreased, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed Wednesday.

There were 2.49 million unemployed people in the country during the three-month period, down by 37,000 from June-August. At the same time, the number of people in work increased by 90,000 to 29.7 million for three months to November, the highest since records began in 1971.

The employment rate edged up to 71.4 percent from 71.3 percent during June to August. But it was lower than the pre-recession peak of 73 percent logged for March to May 2008.

The number of jobless claims or the claimant count declined by 12,100 from a month earlier to 1.56 million in December, the lowest since June 2011. Economists had expected an increase of 500 claimants. The claimant count rate was unchanged at 4.8 percent as expected.

At the same time, the ILO measure of the unemployment rate fell marginally to 7.7 percent in the September-November period from 7.8 percent in June-August. Economists had expected the rate to remain unchanged.

After some recent disappointing news on the U.K. economy and fears that there was a renewed dip in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012, job figures provide a welcome boost to growth hopes for 2013, IHS Global Insight's Chief UK economist Howard Archer said.

Britons' total pay, including bonuses, rose 1.5 percent between September and November compared to the same period last year. This was slightly faster than the 1.6 percent increase expected. Regular pay, excluding bonuses, rose 1.4 percent.

With inflation likely to remain elevated over the next few months, the prospect of any wage-led growth in the economy remains unlikely this year, Capital Economics economist Martin Beck noted.

by RTT Staff Writer

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