The 1.7% rise in unemployment figures in the Isle of Man last month is not surprising, according to the island's Treasury Minister.
An increase in redundancies and layoffs, at the same time as falls in new vacancies, left 721 people without work as 2009 began.
Opportunities for construction workers and those in the retail sector have reduced significantly in recent months.
However, figures show labour shortages in health care and domestic services.
Treasury Minister Allan Bell said the latest figures were no surprise, but needed to be put in context.
"We have to recognise that the unemployment level within construction does creep up over the Christmas and New Year period because a lot of sites do close down during that period.
"But undoubtedly, there is an upward trend in unemployment in construction as the industry generally does slow down, and the problems of the retail industry have been well documented over these past few weeks.
"We will see further evidence of that working its way through into the unemployment figures in the next month or two. These figures do not include those who have been made unemployed by Woolworths."