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Friday 26th of March 2010
June 12, 2008    

UK unemployment figures increase by 38,000

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by Kay Murchie

The Office for National Statistics have revealed that unemployment in the UK increased by 38,000 to 1.64 million in the 3 months to April

As a result, the unemployment rate increased to 5.3% from the previous rate of 5.2%. Unemployment benefit claims increased by 9,000 in May to 819,300, this represented the fourth consecutive increase.

The rate of increase of average earnings slowed to 3.8% between February and April, down from 4%. A rise had been expected by analysts.

Commenting on the figures, Philip Shaw of investment bank Investec, said the earnings numbers have remained subdued, albeit perhaps because of lower bonuses this time around.

According to the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), the highest number of job losses have been experienced in the financial and construction sectors, primarily due to the credit crisis and the housing slowdown.

However, it is believed that the retail sector could be facing challenging times after recent industry figures showed that consumer confidence in the UK had fallen to record lows.

Nigel Meager of the IES said that retail workers may be the next to join the dole queue.

The figures also showed that the overall number of people in employment has increased to its highest point on record.

In the 3 months to April, the total number in work increased 76,000 to 29.55 million. John Philpott, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said employers are still recruiting and there is still no sign of a widespread increase in the firing rate.

He concluded by saying that the rate of growth in employment is much slower than in recent quarters and some sectors are showing obvious signs of strain.

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