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Unemployment increases by 10,000

Unemployment has increased by 10,000 in the quarter to 1.66 million people. Credit: PA

Unemployment has increased by 10,000 in the quarter to August to 1.66 million people.

Despite unemployment increasing, the number of people in employment remains at a record high of 32 million.

The claimant count increased by 700 last month to 776,400, the sixth increase in seven months according to the Office for National Statistics.

Average earnings increased by 2.3% in the year to August, 0.1% down from the previous month.

Unemployment is 118,000 lower than this time last year despite the rise.

Analysis from ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills.

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Travis Perkins to axe 600 jobs and close 30 branches

Credit: PA

Travis Perkins, Britain's biggest supplier of building materials, has announced it is to axe 600 jobs and close more than 30 branches due to "uncertain" trading.

The company - which also owns Wickes - said it would not meet its £415 million market expectation for full-year profits, blaming a disappointing performance in its plumbing and heating business.

Travis Perkins is to also close 10 smaller distribution centres and review its plumbing and heating division.

Around 28,000 people are employed by the builders' merchant which hopes to relocate some of the affected staff to other sites.

A spokesperson for Travis Perkins said: "Given that levels of future demand remain difficult to predict, the group has chosen to implement a number of efficiency programmes and branch closures to further optimise the network.

"This work includes the closure of 10 smaller distribution and fabrication centres, the write-off of certain IT legacy equipment and over 30 branch closures in our trade businesses."

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Number of zero hours contracts increases by fifth

Credit: PA

The number of workers on zero hours contracts has increased by a fifth over the past year, official figures show.

Just over 900,000 people are now employed on the controversial contracts, compared to 747,000 a year ago.

Women make up 55% of those on zero hour contracts, while one in five employed on them is in full-time education.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that these figures show that almost three per cent of the UK workforce is on a zero hours contract.

New TUC analysis has shown that someone employed on a zero hours contract earns on average 50% less than the typical employee. The median hourly wage for zero hours workers is £7.25, while it is £11.05 for others.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady slammed the findings: "It is very easy for politicians and employers to talk about the 'flexibility' these contracts offer, but they are not the ones living at the sharp end of the labour market.

"If you don't know how much work you will have from one day to the next, paying the bills and arranging things like childcare can be a nightmare."

A spokesperson for the Business Department hit back, saying: "Since May last year, the use of exclusivity clauses has been unlawful, meaning that individuals have more control over their lives and can work more hours with another employer if they wish.

"Fewer than 3% of the UK workforce classes itself as being on a zero-hours contract in their main job, with almost 70% of those on this type of contract happy with the number of hours they work."

The contracts - which leave workers unsure of how many hours they will work each week - have been under the spotlight in recent days after Sports Direct said it would change arrangements for some staff.

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