Government figures hint at economy slowdown

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has increased.

Figures published today by the Office of National Statistics reveal that although the total number of people out of work fell by 0.1 per cent, the number claiming benefits rose by 3,500 to 1,047,300.

The number of new vacancies notified to Jobcentres fell by 4,500 in October 2000 to 222,700 – down 14,100 on October 1999.

The statistics also show that the average earnings growth rate increased by 0.1 per cent during September 2000 to 4.1 per cent.

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