Unemployment rises again as jobless total reaches 1.85m

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Unemployment has increased for the second month in a row, reaching 1.85 million, new figures have shown.

The jobless total went up by 25,000 in the quarter to June, the first time there have been two consecutive rises for two years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was possible the jobs market was "levelling off".

Other figures showed that the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 4,900 last month to 792,400 following a slight increase in June.

There were 31 million people in work in the latest quarter, 63,000 fewer than the three months to March, but 354,000 more than a year ago.

A record 14.5 million women are in work, while employment for men slumped by 71,000 to just under 16.5 million compared with the previous quarter.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: "This is now the second consecutive time we've reported fewer people in work on the quarter.

"While it's too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid."

Average earnings increased by 2.4% in the year to June, down by 0.8% on the previous month, but still ahead of inflation.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sick leave or who have given up looking for work, has increased by 7,000 to just under nine million.

The number of UK nationals in work between April and June increased by 84,000 compared with a year ago to 27.7 million. The total for non-UK nationals increased by 257,000 to 3.1 million.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "Thanks to our long term economic plan we have already seen two million more people in jobs since 2010. On top of that, today's figures show job vacancies at a near record high - evidence of the continued confidence of British businesses, and potential for further growth in the UK economy.

"Our one nation government is helping millions across the country to succeed and achieve their full potential. I was particularly pleased to see that wages are continuing to rise - meaning that hardworking people will see a real difference in their pay packets."