Dole queues at 28-year low

The Government has been given a pre-Christmas boost on the jobs front today when new figures showed record numbers of people in work and benefit queues at a 28-year low.

The growth in average earnings also remained "moderate" at 3.6%, while job vacancies increased.

Unemployment fell by 33,000 in the three months to October to 1.47 million, a jobless rate of 5% and 71,000 lower than a year ago.

The number of people receiving unemployment benefit - the claimant count - fell by 7,900 last month to 917,800, the lowest total since

September 1975.

The rate stood at 3% last month while the level was 20,800 lower than a year ago, today's figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Meanwhile the number of people in work reached 28.17 million in the quarter to October, the best figure since records began in 1984.

The total increased by 37,000 over the quarter and 228,000 over the year.

The number of men in employment fell by 21,000 in the latest three months but this was offset by an increase of 58,000 in the number of women in work.

But despite the good news, jobs in manufacturing continued to be axed.

Other data showed that the growth in average earnings in the year to October was 3.6%, unchanged from the previous month.

There were 647,100 job vacancies across the UK in the quarter to November, an increase of 4.600 compared to a year ago.

The number of working days lost through industrial disputes totalled 130,800 in October, the highest monthly total of the year.

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