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UK unemployment dips to 2.49mn


Number of people in work at a record high

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The UK's total unemployment figure has fallen by 37,000 to 2.49 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Wednesday.

In an official data release covering the period from September to November, the statistics body said the figure was lowest on record for 18 months. The unemployment rate was 7.7 percent of the economically active population, down 0.1 on June to August 2012 and down 0.7 on a year earlier.

The number claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell 12,100 to 1.56 million last month, the lowest since June 2011. The ONS also said the number of people employed full time rose by 113,000, offsetting a fall in part-time employment of 23,000.

Those out of work for more than two years fell by 10,000 to 434,000, while the number out of work for more than a year fell by 5,000 to 892,000. On the negative side, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work rose by 1,000 to 957,000.

Commenting on the figures, UK employment Minister Mark Hoban, said, "These are very positive figures showing employment rising for 15 months and despite difficult economic circumstances, unemployment is lower than when this government took office."

The number of vacancies, at 494,000, was the highest since the end of 2008, the ONS said. However, the overall job picture remains puzzling. Earlier on Wednesday, Rolls Royce and Flybe announced job cuts while fast food restaurant chain McDonald's said it would create 2,500 jobs in the UK over 2013.

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UK unemployment dips to 2.49mn
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