Unemployment dips but benefit claimants up

THE jobless total in the UK has fallen slightly but the number of benefits claimants has gone up, official figures have shown.

Total unemployment stood at 2.46m 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 per cent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by 23,500 to 1.64m in January, the largest increase since July last year.

Meanwhile the figures showed that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work fell over the three-month period between October and December, down from 936,000 to 923,000.