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UK unemployment rises by 22,000 to 1.3 million as jobs market 'buckles

Ben Chapman

Unemployment rose to 1.3 million in the three months to August 2019 as the UK jobs market "showed signs of slowing" amid heightened Brexit uncertainty.

The number unemployed increased 22,000 in the quarter but declined by 49,000 compared to the same period a year ago, the Office for National Statistics said.

Wages rose faster than inflation but real pay still remains below where it was prior to the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Howard Archer of the EY Item Club said: "The latest jobs data are weaker across the board, indicating that the labour market is now undeniably faltering in the face of overall soft domestic economic activity, a weakening global economy and heightened Brexit and domestic political uncertainties."

The total number of people in work fell by 56,000 over the three-month period, taking the overall employment rate down to 75.9 per cent from 76.1 per cent.

ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes said: “The employment rate is still rising year-on-year, but this growth has cooled noticeably in recent months. Among the under-25s, the employment rate has actually started to fall on the year.

“Pay growth continues to outstrip inflation, as it has done for over eighteen months now.

Despite the 0.1 per cent rise in unemployment to 3.9 per cent, the proportion of people jobless remains at its lowest level since the 1970s.

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