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Laura Tenison
Jeremy Roberts
Jennie Johnson
David Pollock
Brian Hay
Tony Caldeira
Julie Meyer
Michael Oliver
Richard O'Sullivan
Charlie Mullins
Steve Purdham
Debbie Pierce

Unemployment edges lower to 1.6m

Unemployment fell by 16,000 between August and October to 1.62m, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people out of work had fallen by 102,000 compared with the corresponding period of last year.

The unemployment rate fell from 5.2 per cent to 4.8 per cent - the lowest since July to September 2005.

Employment was little changed from May to July at 31.7m but was 342,000 higher year-on-year.

There were 23.2m people working full-time in the three months to October, 235,000 more than a year earlier. Another 8.5m were working part-time, up by 107,000.

Average weekly earnings increased by 2.5 per cent including bonuses and 2.6 per cent excluding bonuses compared with a year earlier.

Commenting on the figures, Rachel Smith, principal labour market adviser at the Confederation of British Industry, said: "We see a mixed picture from the labour market over the last three months, with employment levels remaining more or less the same and unemployment seeing a slight drop.

"Although wage growth has gone up somewhat, so has inflation, hitting workers' pay packets in real terms. Boosting productivity in every region and nation of the UK will be essential if firms are to further raise wages sustainably for their employees."

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