Small rise in UK unemployment

Jul 14 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Unemployment in the UK has risen for the first time almost a year but the number of people claiming jobless benefits has fallen to its lowest level since 1975, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the number of people out of work Ė including those not claiming benefit - rose by 6,000 between March and May to 1.43 million.

But the numbers claiming unemployment benefit fell 9,600 in June to 850,900, the 13th consecutive monthly fall and the lowest total for almost 30 years.

The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged from April, at 4.8 per cent.

The number of economically inactive people - those not looking for a job, those who have taken early retirement or those on long term sick leave Ė also rose by 80,000 over the three months to May to 7.82 million, the third highest figure in the last 20 years.

Other figures from the ONS showed that jobs in UK manufacturing continued to decline, falling by 106,000 in the three months to June.

Manufacturing employment now stands at 3.37 million, the lowest since records began in 1978. The biggest job cuts were in textiles and clothing, which saw numbers decline by 19,000 and electrical and optical equipment, which saw a loss of 18,000 jobs.

However, the figures also show that there were 643,400 manufacturing job vacancies in the three months to June, an increase of 60,500 from a year ago.

The UK's unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the world compared to countries such as the United States (5.6 per cent) Canada (7.2 per cent) France (9.4 per cent) and Germany (9.8 per cent).