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UK employment up, living standards fall

UK employment up, living standards fall
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The number of people in work in Britain hit an all-time high in the final three months of last year, despite the stagnant UK economy.

Unemployment benefit claims also fell much more than expected in January.

A total of 29.73 million Britons had jobs in that period, the most since records began in 1971.

But there has been a big increase in part-time working since the financial crisis started.

In the final quarter of 2012 full-time workers accounted for 73 percent and part-time 27 percent.

Youth unemployment is also rising and reached almost 21 percent of those aged 16 to 24.

In addition many British workers are seeing their standards of living eroded with wage growth well below inflation.

The Office for National Statistics said average weekly earnings growth including bonuses slowed modestly to 1.4 percent in the three months through December, in line with forecasts.

Excluding bonuses, pay grew by 1.3 percent, slightly undershooting expectations. That was the weakest rise since three months through June 2010.

Wage growth remains well below inflation, which held at 2.7 percent in January for the fourth consecutive month.

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