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Unemployment has fallen slightly but the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance is on the rise. Total unemployment stood at 2.46 million for the three months to December, down 3,000 on the figure for the previous three months.

The rate of unemployment was unchanged at 7.8%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. But the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by 23,500 to 1.64 million in January, the largest increase since July last year.


But there is fear that the number of unemployed could rise again as the government begins the process of reducing the £178bn budget deficit after the election, which will inevitably lead to job cuts in the public sector.


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