Blip in jobless figures

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The Independent Online

The number of people out of work and claiming benefit increased slightly last month - up 3,500 to 1,047,300.

The number of people out of work and claiming benefit increased slightly last month - up 3,500 to 1,047,300.

It was the first increase since November 1998, but the National Office for Statistics believes it is just a blip.

The jobless rate of 3.6 per cent is lower than a year ago. The number of people in work, nearly 28 million, is running at the highest level since current records began in 1984.

However, the number of new vacancies notified to Jobcentres fell by 4,500 last month to 222,700

Other statistics showed that pay rises in private firms were 4.3 per cent compared with 3.3 per cent for the public sector.

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