Unemployment: UK Jobless Total Down 37,000

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Unemployment fell by 37,000 in the three months to the end of November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) , with the total figure of those out of work standing at 2.49 million.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month also fell by 12,100 to 1.56 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Average earnings increased by 1.5% in the year to November, but were 0.3% down on the previous month, according to the ONS.

Almost 30 million adults were in a job in the quarter to last November, up by more than 500,000 on the previous year.

The figure, giving an employment rate of 71%, is the highest since records began in 1971. The unemployment level is also at its lowest since spring 2011.

It was the 10th consecutive fall and was coupled with another cut in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance, which was down by 12,100 last month to 1.56 million - the lowest since June 2011.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a relative or who have given up looking for a job, fell by 13,000 to just over nine million.

Part-time employment fell by 23,000, but this was offset by a 113,000 increase in the numbers employed full-time in the three months to November.

Data from the ONS also showed a 26,000 increase in the number of women out of work for up to six months, to reach 571,000, which may reflect changes to the benefits system resulting in more single mothers looking for work.

The number of job vacancies in the economy increased by 10,000 to almost half a million at the end of last year, the highest number for four years.

Other figures revealed that the number of self-employed workers has increased by 7,000 to 4.2 million, while unpaid family workers fell by 1,000 to 111,000.

Long-term unemployment has also fallen, down by 10,000 for those out of work for more than two years, to 434,000, and by 5,000 for people unemployed for at least a year, to 892,000.

But the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 1,000 to 957,000, the first rise since last summer, although youth employment showed an increase of 12,000 as more students seek work.