Employment rate falls again

The number of people in work in the UK dipped again in the third quarter of 2009, new government figures have revealed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 72.4 per cent of the working age population was in employment during this period, down 0.1 per cent (a fall of 14,000) on the previous quarter and the lowest proportion since 1996-97.

However, the overall unemployment rate fell for the first time since May 2008, down 7,000 to leave the overall rate of joblessness unchanged at 7.8 per cent.

The number claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was also down, dipping by 15,200 in December 2009 to a total of 1.61 million.

Such a situation may suggest that the economy is stabilising, but that continued low interest rates may be needed to help it recover.

This could in turn help keep down loan costs.

Last week, data from the ONS showed that industrial output increased by 0.4 per cent between October and November, which may be the first clear indication of an end to the recession.

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