UK jobless rate hits record low

2004

Britain's jobless rate has reached the lowest level since records began in 1984, official figures have shown, with unemployment falling by 33,000 in the three months to January to 1,436,000.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the jobless rate now stands a record low of 4.8 per cent.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit also fell by 6,600 to 885,200 in February, the ninth consecutive monthly fall and the lowest since 1975.

The number of those in work also increased by 121,000 in the three months to January, hitting a high of 28.27 million.

But what the figures fail to make explicit is that more than almost eight million people in the UK are economically inactive.

The pick-up also failed to reach the manufacturing sector, Despite signs of an improvement over the past few months, the ONS figures show that manufacturing employment had fallen by 108,000 compared to the same period in 2003.

Average earnings increased by 4.4 per cent in the year to January, up by 0.9 per cent from the previous month. The jump – the biggest since September 2001 – was mainly driven by bonuses in the financial services sector, the ONS said.

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