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Employment Figures Continue To Defy Economic Gloom, But Youth Unemployment Rises

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The number of people out of work, or unable to work, has fallen, providing a ray of light for chancellor George Osborne.

Unemployment for everyone aged 16 and over fell by 14,000 to 2.5 million between October and December 2012, and the number of those classified as economically inactive (unable to work or not looking for work) fell by 94,000 to 8.98m.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed the number of people in work rose to 29.73m - the highest level since records began in 1971.

Since the period covers the lucrative Christmas period, it's likely some of those figures are skewed by short term, seasonal employment.

However, youth unemployment increased by 11,000, the highest rise for a year. The employment statistics were also skewed by the number of people with more than one job, which rose by 41,000 to 1.1m.

The unemployment figures were welcomed by most, although James King at Find Invest Grow challenged the government to do more to promote start ups to provide a long-term solution to keeping the number of those out of work down.

"Start-ups are an often overlooked segment of the economy when it comes to getting Britain’s unemployed back into work," he said.

"If the UK is serious about addressing unemployment in the long term, changes need to be made to promote entrepreneurship and stimulate investment in start-ups. After all, these are where the big brands of the future begin and where we have seen the most significant levels of growth year on year."

Pay, excluding bonuses, also rose over the quarter, but only by 1.3% - a figure that is dwarfed by the current inflation rate of 2.7%.

For more insights, see the infographic below.

employment figures ons

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