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Unemployment up for first time in two years, says ONS

 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that the number of jobless individuals rose by 15,000 between March and May this year.

 

Total joblessness now stands at 1.85 million. Numbers of unemployment benefit claimants were also up by 7000 last month alone, rising to 804,200.

 

Statistician at the ONS, Nick Palmer, said: ‘Today’s figures show the first quarterly fall in employment and the first rise in unemployment for over two years. So it’s possible that the rate of improvement in the labour market that we have seen over the last three years may have eased off, though it is much too early to be certain’.

 

Employment Minister Priti Patel responded: ‘We have to look at the figures not just on the quarter but over the last year, where employment actually rose by over a quarter of a million, so this is also a reflection of the strength of our economy, the fact that our economic recovery is well on track’.

 

Over the same period, total pay including bonuses grew by 3.2% on the previous quarter. While the ONS said that this was lower than the predicted 3.3%, it remains the fastest improvement in real wages since September 2007.