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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 10:55 GMT
UK unemployment rate holds steady
Claimant count unemployment has continued to rise
The number of people out of work fell by 1,000 between July and September to 1.43 million, official figures showed.

Britain's unemployment rate was 4.7% during the period, little changed from the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.

But the number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by 12,100 in October to 890,100, the ONS said.

The increase, the ninth consecutive rise in claimant count unemployment, was bigger than analysts had expected.

Interest rate pressure

Claimant count unemployment rose by 10,700 in September, and analysts had forecast a more modest increase of 5,000 in October.

Slow recruitment overall shows that the consumer slowdown is hitting the jobs market
John Philpott, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Growth in average earnings also slipped, the ONS said, increasing by 4.1% in the year to September - down from 4.2% in the previous month.

With higher inflation in recent months appearing not to have fed into wage growth, the earnings figures raised expectations that the Bank of England would trim interest rates from 4.5% early next year.

"This trend of a weakening labour market supports the view that interest rates will be coming down in the first half of next year," said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec.

Confidence slips

Separate figures from ONS on Tuesday showed that UK inflation as measured by the consumer prices index fell to 2.3% in October, down from 2.5% a month earlier.

Meanwhile, the latest quarterly report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) suggested that employers were increasingly pessimistic about the UK jobs market.

Only a third of employers asked expected their staff numbers to increase in the next three months, the CIPD said.

"Recruitment confidence has dropped in all sectors," said John Philpott, the CIPD's chief economist. "Slow recruitment overall shows that the consumer slowdown is hitting the jobs market."

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