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Unemployment close to 17-year high


Unemployment has increased to a near 17-year high after another rise in the jobless total and a huge fall in public sector employment.

The total jobless rate increased by 28,000 between November and January to almost 2.7 million, while the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increased for the 12th month in a row, up by 7,200 in February to 1.6 million, the worst figure since 2009.

The French-based pharmaceutical firm Sanofi added to the gloom by announcing the closure of a plant in Newcastle with the loss of 450 jobs, while UK Coal raised the threat of closing Daw Mill mine near Coventry, jeopardising 800 jobs.

Alan Jones