Men bear the brunt as figures show rise in unemployment

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Unemployment has increased by 21,000 even though record numbers of people are in work, new figures reveal.

The jobless total rose to 1.38 million in the three months to September after a big increase in the number of men out of work.

Employment continued to increase, up by 23,000 to a record high of 32.4 million, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Other figures showed a record fall in the number of non-EU nationals working in the UK, down by 132,000 to 2.25 million in the latest quarter compared with a year ago.

The fall, the biggest since records began in 1997, was driven by fewer Eastern Europeans working in the UK.

The total has now fallen for the last three quarters, down from the highest level of 2.4 million a year ago.

The UK’s jobless rate is now 4.1%, up by 0.1% on the previous quarter but 0.2% lower than a year ago.

The increase in both unemployment and employment is explained by the UK’s rising population.

The ONS also reported that average earnings increased by 3% in the year to September, up from 2.8% the previous month.

ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said: “The labour market is little changed on the previous three months, though still stronger than it was at this time last year.

“With faster wage growth and more subdued inflation, real earnings have picked up noticeably in the last few months.

“However, real wage growth is below the level seen in 2015, and real wages have not yet returned to their 2008 levels.

“The recent uptick in British nationals in work and the decline in workers from the so-called A8 Eastern European countries both seem to be accelerating.”

Job vacancies were up by 14,000 on the quarter to a record high of 845,000, the ONS reported.

The number of people classed as economically inactive increased by 1,000 to 8.7 million, around 147,000 lower than a year ago.

The figure includes those on long-term sick leave, students, and people who have given up looking for a job.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said: “We can see seismic shifts in opportunities for disabled people, with almost a million more in work since 2013.

“That’s empowering almost a million more disabled people with new career opportunities, and creating a brighter future.

“Since 2010, employment has risen and unemployment has fallen in every single region of the UK, and with an average of 1,000 people moving into work each and every day, and three quarters of all new jobs in permanent, full time and high skilled roles, this shows our welfare reforms are working and delivering for people across the country.”

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