Unemployment up to 1.53 million

The number of people out of work in the UK rose by 111,000 to 1.53 million in the three months to November, official figures have shown.

The rise took the unemployment rate up to 5%, the highest for two years, the Office for National Statistics figures revealed.

Meanwhile, the number of people out of work and claiming benefit rose by 7,200 to 909,100 last month.

There was further bad news for the government, as the data revealed that the number of people classed as “economically inactive” rose to its highest level since records began in 1971.

The figure – which includes students, people looking after relatives and those who have given up looking for a job – rose 25,000 during the three months to November to 7.94 million.

The Office for National Statistics data also revealed that average earnings grew by 3.4% in the year to November, down from the 3.6% rate recorded the month before.

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