Developing

Unemployment falls again

The number of unemployed people in the UK has fallen by 2.51 million, down by 49,000 during the period July-September this year.

Employment has risen to 29.58 million - a new record - breaking the previous record set only last month.

Overall there are over half a million more people in work now than a year ago.

The figures are good news for the government and will serve to cancel out yesterday's bad news that inflation had seen a surprise rise from 2.2% to 2.7%.

Youth unemployment is down, also by 49,000, to below the symbolic one million figure for the first time in over a year.

The figures were given a cautious welcome by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

"Today’s figures show more welcome improvements in the jobs market with employment rising and the number of young people not in education or work falling," he said.

"However, tougher times may still be ahead if our economy starts to slow again in the autumn quarter. There are still big challenges ahead, with long-term unemployment rising, real wages falling and far too many young people out of work."

But total pay rose by 1.8% compared to the same period last year. This means that although more people are working, wages are not keeping up with inflation so living standards are not improving for most.