Employment levels hit all time high despite rise in jobless total

The
number of people in work now stands at its highest total since records began in
1979, at 28.2m, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Despite
this, the number of people out of work in the UK increased by 34,000 in the
last three months of 2001 to 1,546,000.

However
the number of people unemployed and claiming benefit in the UK also fell, by
10,600 in January, down to 952,900.

Work
and Pensions Minister Nick Brown said: "The UK has low inflation, sound
public finances and low unemployment.

"This,
combined with a rise in employment and the fact that we are getting 10,000 new
vacancies in Jobcentres every working day, shows that we are coping well with
the uncertainties of the current international economic climate better than
other countries and better than we have in the past."

The
figures also reveal that the average number of hours worked in October to
December 2001 was 32.6 per week.

www.statistics.gov.uk

By Quentin Reade

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