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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:06 GMT
UK unemployment total on the rise
Looking at job adverts
A record number of people in the UK now have jobs
The number of people out of work in the UK in the September to November period has risen to 1.4 million, an increase of 13,000 on the previous three months.

But a record 28 million people are now in employment after 99,000 people found jobs in the same quarter.

The amount of people claiming jobless benefit fell last month by 6,200 to 826,300, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Average earnings increased by 4.2% in the year to November.

Pay concerns

Average earnings were 0.1% higher than in the previous month.

Delayed bonus payments in real estate and business were cited as the reason for the rise.

But earnings could continue to grow as pay deals are often signed at the beginning of the year.

Figures showed the Retail Price Index (RPI), which forms the basis for many pay deals, rose 3.5% in the year to December, its highest level since 1998.

Regional unemployment rates
North East 6.3%
North West 4.5%
Yorks & Humber 4.7%
East Midlands 4.2%
West Midlands 4.9%
East 3.6%
London 7%
South East 3.6%
South West 3.2%
Wales 4.4%
Scotland 5.5%
Northern Ireland 5.1%
Source: ONS

Such data indicates that it may be too early to say interest rates have peaked at their current level of 4.75%, economists say.

Others predict a fall later in the year.

"Before this week, there was a lot of weak data and that increased the risk for a very near-term interest rate cut, but this week we now have upbeat data, which has diminished the risk of a very near-term cut," said Alan Clarke at BNP Paribas.

"However, we still see UK interest rates being cut in the medium term."

Manufacturing pressures

The ONS data shows that jobs are still disappearing from manufacturing.

There were 3.25 million jobs in the sector in the three months to November, down 110,000 on the same period a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for the September-to-November period was 4.7%, unchanged on the previous quarter.

In the year to November, the total number of unemployed people, including those not eligible for benefits, fell by 64,000, the ONS said.

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