UK unemployment falls to 1.6 million

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UK unemployment fell by 52,000 to 1.6 million in three months to November, official figures showed.

The jobless rate was steady at an 11-year low of 4.8%, in line with forecasts, the Office for National Statistics said.

The employment rate was steady at a record 74.5%, while wage growth picked up pace.

Average earnings increased by 2.8% in the year to November, 0.2% up on the previous month.

However, the number of people in work slipped by 9,000 to just over 31.8 million, the ONS said.

It was the second consecutive report to show a decline in the number of people in work – the first back-to-back fall since mid-2015.

The claimant count fell by 10,100 in December to 797,800.

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