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UK Unemployment Falls For First Time In 21 Months

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The number of people claiming unemployment benefit - Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) - has fallen for the first time in 21 months.  Today's employment figures published by the Office for National Statistics show:

  • There were 191,000 redundancies in August to October, down 42,000 on the previous quarter but up 12,000 on the same quarter last year.
  • The number of people claiming JSA fell by 6,300 to 1.6 million this month.
  • The number of young people claiming JSA fell very slightly by 300.
  • ILO unemployment rose by 21,000 on the quarter to 2.5 million.
  • The number of young people classed as ILO unemployed rose by 6,000 on the quarter to 952,000, however 276,000 of them are students in full time education.
  • Excluding full time students, the number of young people ILO unemployed fell by 9,000 to 676,000.
  • The number of people in work has increased by 53,000 on the quarter.
  • There was an average of 432,000 unfilled vacancies in the three months to November 2009, up a thousand on the quarter and down 124,000 on the year.
  • In the last month Jobcentre Plus has taken on average over 10,000 new vacancies every working day and many more come up through other recruitment channels.
  • The figures also demonstrate the impact of government policy to increase education and training places for young people as the number in full time education has gone up by nearly 150,000 on the quarter.
  • Earnings growth in the year to October was 1.5%, up 0.1% from the September figure; excluding bonuses, average earnings growth was 1.7%, unchanged from the September figure.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper said:

"It is encouraging that there are more people in jobs as we get near to Christmas and also that so many more young people have been helped.  Government action is keeping unemployment much lower than in previous recessions.

"But it is still tough for a lot of people and we still expect unemployment to increase again in the New Year.  So we are determined to do more."

She confirmed that from January everyone under 25 will be guaranteed a job, training or work experience after six months on unemployment benefit, providing 100,000 extra youth opportunities on top of 300,000 already announced.

To ensure work is always the best financial option, every person on benefit for at least six months - whatever their age - is guaranteed to be at least £40 per week better off when moving into work.

The Government has also unveiled the next 2,800 jobs to be created for the young and long term unemployed through the Future Jobs Fund - bringing to 98,000 the total number of jobs announced through the Fund so far.

Employment Minister Jim Knight said:

"Government is working with the public, private and voluntary sectors to create these job opportunities as part of our Backing Young Britain campaign - helping young people get a foot on the career ladder and ensuring no one is written off."

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