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Debbie Pierce

Unemployment rate falls to 11-year low

Unemployment fell by 37,000 in the three months to September to 1.6m, while the unemployment rate hit an 11-year low, according to official figures.

There were 31.8m people in work, up by 49,000 compared with April to June and almost half a million higher - 461,000 - than a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said.

Some 23.24m people were working full-time, up by 350,000 year-on-year. Another 8.56m were working part-time, up by 110,000.

The employment rate stood at 74.5 per cent, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

The unemployment rate was 4.8 per cent, down from 5.3 per cent a year earlier and the lowest since July to September 2005.

There were 803,300 people claiming unemployment-related benefits in October, including jobseeker's allowance and universal credit, up from 793,000 in September.

Average weekly earnings increased by 2.4 per cent excluding bonuses compared with a year earlier and by 2.3 per cent including bonuses.

Commenting on the figures, Josh Hardie, deputy director-general of the CBI, said: "While the labour market remains in decent health there are some concerning trends, such as the increasing claimant count.

"With the economy entering a more challenging phase, businesses are already changing processes to increase their productivity, and will be looking for measures to support their efforts in next week’s Autumn Statement, such as investment in innovation and infrastructure."

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