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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 12:43 GMT
Unemployment at seven-year high
Two men looking for jobs at a Job Centre in London
Unemployment has been rising steadily
UK unemployment is continuing to rise - climbing by 27,000 to 1.71 million in the three months to September, the highest level in seven years.

The jobless rate rose to 5.6%, up from 5.5% in the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics said.

The number of people out of work and claiming Jobseekers Allowance rose by 1,200 in October to 961,300.

Average earnings grew by 3.9% in the year to September, down from 4.2% in the previous month.

Other Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that that 141,000 people were made redundant in quarter, up by 3,000 from the previous three months.

London: 8%
North East: 6.9%
West Mids: 6.1%
Yorks/Humber: 6%
North West: 5.6%
Wales: 5.4%
East Mids: 5.3%
Scotland: 5%
East: 5%
N Ireland: 4.7%
South East: 4.5%
South West: 3.9%
Source: ONS

The number of people working in manufacturing fell by 77,000 over the year to about three million - the lowest level since records began in 1841.

However, the rise in the UK population led to the number of people actually in work increasing by 56,000 over the quarter to 28.9 million.

The general secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber, said that rising interest rates made matters worse for businesses - meaning that unemployment would continue to rise.

"The labour market is continuing to slacken," he said.

"Employment rates are down, the percentage of people who are economically inactive but want jobs is rising, and manufacturing has lost 77,000.

"The Bank of England should take care not to undermine the government's strong record on job creation."

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