Unemployment AND the number of people in work both rise nationally! But in Lancashire number of people claiming benefits creeps up

This months unemployment figures show a confusing picture
This months unemployment figures show a confusing picture
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Unemployment has increased by 21,000 even though record numbers of people are in work, new national figures reveal.

The jobless total rose to 1.38 million in the three months to September after a big increase in the number of men out of work.

Employment continued to increase, up by 23,000 to a record high of 32.4 million, said the Office for National Statistics.

The UK's jobless rate is now 4.1 per cent, up by 0.1 per cent on the previous quarter but 0.2 per cent lower than a year ago.

The paradoxical increase in both unemployment and employment is explained, the ONS said, by the UK's rising population.

The ONS also reported that average earnings increased by 3 per cent in the year to September, up from 2.8 per cent the previous month.

ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said: "The labour market is little changed on the previous three months, though still stronger than it was at this time last year.

"With faster wage growth and more subdued inflation, real earnings have picked up noticeably in the last few months.

"However, real wage growth is below the level seen in 2015, and real wages have not yet returned to their 2008 levels."

Locally, the figures showed that slightly more people were claiming benefits such as Universal Credit of Job Seekers Allowance during October than in the same period last year.

In the Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency there were 1,615 people claiming work related benefits which was up 0.1 per cent on the same month last year.

In Blackpool South there were 2,155 claiming, down 0.1 per cent, while in Fylde there were 640 claimants, down 0.1 per cent.

The Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency had 280 people claiming, up 0.2 per cent, in Wyre and Preston North there were 395, the same as last year.

In Preston there were 2,035 claimants up 0.2 per cen on last October, in South Ribble there were 825, the same as last year and in the Ribble Valley 580 up 0.1 per cen on last year.

In the North West generally figures for the quarter, between July and September, showed there were 146,000 unemployed down, 2,000, giving an unemployment rate of 4 per cent.

Nationally, job vacancies were up by 14,000 on the quarter to a record high of 845,000, the ONS reported.

The number of people classed as economically inactive increased by 1,000 to 8.7 million, around 147,000 lower than a year ago.

The figure includes those on long-term sick leave, students, and people who have given up looking for a job.

Other figures showed a record fall in the number of non-EU nationals working in the UK, down by 132,000 to 2.25 million in the latest quarter compared with a year ago.

The fall, the biggest since records began in 1997, was driven by fewer Eastern Europeans working in the UK.

The total has now fallen for the last three quarters, down from the highest level of 2.4 million a year ago.