Unemployment falls by 125,000 to 2.34 million but rate rises

Unemployment fell by 125,000 between October and December to 2.34 million, official figures showed today. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 7.2% as fewer people were eligible for work.

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Unemployment rate still highest in North East

Regional unemployment fiugures between October and December were as follows:

  • North East: 130,000 (minus 3,000) 10%
  • North West: 277,000 (minus 6,000) 8.1%
  • Yorkshire/Humber: 240,000 (minus 8,000) 8.6%
  • East Midlands: 162,000 (minus 4,000) 6.9%
  • West Midlands: 226,000 (minus 31,000) 8.3%
  • East of England: 180,000 (minus 1,000) 5.7%
  • London: 351,000 (minus 25,000) 8.1%
  • South East: 233,000 (minus 37,000) 5.1%
  • South West: 177,000 (plus 3,000) 6.5%
  • Wales: 105,000 (minus 12,000) 7.1%
  • Scotland: 195,000 (minus 3,000) 7.1%
  • Northern Ireland: 64,000 (plus 1,000) 7.4%

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Unemployment falling 'at slower rate' says statistician

Nick Palmer, senior labour market statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said:

The latest unemployment rate is 7.2%, down 0.4 on the previous quarter.

This is a comparison between the July-September and October-December three-month periods.

It is higher than last month's published figure of 7.1% for September-November.

However, it is not directly comparable with the figure published this month, as the Labour Force Survey is not designed to measure monthly changes.

The main conclusion that should be drawn from these latest figures is that the rate at which unemployment has been falling is likely to have slowed down.

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