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Jobless total goes up again to 1.56 million

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The number of people out of work in the UK rose by 30,000 to 1.56 million between December and February, putting the jobless rate at an above-expected 5.1%.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics also showed that number of people out of work and claiming benefits rose by 12,600 in March to 937,600, putting the rate at 3% of the workforce.

“These figures are a bit of surprise,” said City analyst Colin Perry. “The labour market is starting to look a bit flaky and there’s a feeling in the City that the economy is not as rosy as Gordon Brown paints it.

“Basically, increasing unemployment means a weakening economy and we can only hope this isn’t the first stirrings of a major slowdown.”

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