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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 August, 2004, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
UK unemployment on the rise again
Job centre
An extra 27,000 people are out of work
UK unemployment increased by 27,000 between April and June to 1.44 million, official figures have shown.

This is the second month in a row in which the headline unemployment figure has risen.

But at the same time, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell by 13,700 to 835,200, the Office for National Statistics said.

Average earnings increased by 4.4% in the year to June, unchanged from the previous month.

On the other hand, the claimant count - the preferred measure till 1997 - is now the lowest since 1975.

The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance is now 100,000 lower than a year ago.

Manufacturing woes

The data from the Office for National Statistics also showed that the number of people out of work for longer than a year had fallen 18,000 to 290,000, equalling the lowest figure on record.

North East 64,000 +2,000
North West 142,000 -7,000
Yorks & Humber 112,000 -2,000
East Midlands 93,000 -8,000
West Midlands 143,000 No change
East 109,000 +14,000
London 269,000 +2,000
South East 156,000 -7,000
South West 93,000 +20,000
Wales 61,000 -2,000
Scotland 161,000 +15,000
Northern Ireland 40,000 No change
Source: ONS

There were 658,300 job vacancies in the UK economy last month, up by 74,100 from a year ago.

However, the latest figures show that manufacturing jobs continue to disappear, falling 102,000 in the quarter to June to 3.37 million compared to the same period a year ago.

The ONS's figures for strikes across all industries showed there were 19,000 days lost through industrial disputes in June, the lowest monthly total for almost a year.

The UK continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the developed world at 4.8% compared with the United States (5.6%), Spain (11.1%), Germany (9.8%) and France (9.5%).

Despite a mixed picture this month, unemployment has fallen over the year to levels not seen since the mid 1970s and vacancies are high and rising," said Jane Kennedy, Minister for Work.

"Since 1997 the number of people in work is up by 1.9 million and all parts of the country have benefited."

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