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2.5 million jobless in Britain

LONDON — United Kingdom unemployment rose by 70,000 to 2.56 million between December and February, the Office for National Statistics has said.

It meant the unemployment rate for the quarter was 7.9 per cent.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month fell by 7,000 to 1.53 million.

Also, the ONS said average regular pay, excluding bonuses, rose one per cent, the lowest since records began more than a decade ago.

The number of people in work fell by 2,000 in the latest quarter to February, to just under 30 million, the first time the figure has dipped since autumn 2011.

The ONS data also revealed that 900,000 people have been out of work for more than a year, an 8,000 increase on the three months to November, while the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds rose by 20,000 to 979,000.

Despite the increase in unemployment, the total is 71,000 lower than a year ago. There has been a 62,000 fall in the number of people in part-time jobs, to just over eight million, with a 60,000 increase in full-time employment, to 21.6 million.

‘Not much growth around’

Alan Clarke, economist at Scotiabank, said: “It’s not a disaster, but a lot of the froth and really good news we had over the last year on jobs is becoming exhausted, which shouldn’t be a surprise when there is not much growth around.”

George Buckley, at Deutsche Bank, said the data told two stories about the jobs market.

“On the claims numbers they were obviously quite positive in the sense that the last month’s number got revised to an even bigger fall and we saw another fall this month.

“But on the negative side, first of all employment, which is down, the expectation was that it would rise slightly, we saw the unemployment rate go up and we’ve also seen very weak average earnings growth, much weaker than expected,” he said. (BBC)

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