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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Further rise in UK jobless total
Jobpoint computer terminal
The number of jobless is continuing to rise
The number of people out of work in the UK has increased yet again, Office for National Statistics figures have shown.

The jobless total rose by 77,000 to 1.61 million from February to April, lifting the unemployment rate to 5.3%.

Manufacturing continued to suffer, with the number of jobs in the sector down by 116,000 during the quarter compared with the same time last year.

The number of people out of work and claiming unemployment benefit increased by 5,800 in May to 950,900.

Pay restraint

The figures from the ONS also showed that the total number of people in employment also rose, to 28.94 million.

(The pay data) significantly enhances the case for unchanged interest rates for some time to come
Howard Archer, Global Insight chief economist

While the manufacturing sector continued to suffer, the biggest increases in jobs came in education, health and public administration.

While the number of people in work increased, the number of job vacancies fell by 9,200 in the three months to May, and were down 39,700 on the same point last year.

Average earnings increased by 4.4% in the year to April, up from the previous figure of 4.2%. However, when the impact of bonuses are stripped out, the rate of growth was 3.8%, down from 3.9% in March.

"The earnings data confirm that for the time being at least, pay is not a major inflationary threat," said Howard Archer, chief economist at Global Insight.

"This should go down very well at the Bank of England, and significantly enhances the case for unchanged interest rates for some time to come."

Analysts give their reaction to the latest job figures

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