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Unemployment stays above 1 million in October

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The government's plan to reduce unemployment below 1 million has suffered a setback this month, with a rise in the numbers of those claiming benefit. An extra 3,500 benefit claimants in October bring the total number of unemployed claiming benefit to 1.05 million.

According to The Times, the government is reluctant to place too much emphasis on one month's figures, and regards them as a blip. Although this is the first rise in two years, the paper says that the general view of economists is that unemployment is still on a downturn, albeit at a slower rate.

The situation varies slightly across the country, with unemployment in London falling slightly, and larger reductions in the number of claimants in the North-West and North-East and unemployment stable in the East and in Scotland.

Notification of new vacancies to job centres also fell by 4,500 to 222,700 last month, with the number of jobs in manufacturing falling by 87,000 to 3.94 million between July and September this year.

Earnings growth is however on the increase, with the earnings growth rate rising to 4.1% on average, 4% in the service sector, 3.3% in the public sector and 4.3% in the private sector.

More detailed regional reports can be found at

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