By Michael Millar
Date: Wednesday 20 Jun 2012
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly in May.
The claimant count rose by 8,100, compared to consensus forecasts of a drop of 3,000.
However, the latest unemployment figures, which cover the three months to April, showed a drop of 50,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The statistics were buoyed by a record number of people callings themselves self-employed, leading commentators to question whether this was entrepreneurial zeal or desperation.
The unemployment rate remained steady at 8.2%, as expected, while average earnings excluding bonuses rose 1.8%, also as predicted.
"The big question is how long can the labour market’s overall resilience last given the economy’s ongoing weakness and the current very worrying and uncertain outlook?" said Dr Howard Archer, Chief UK Economist at IHS.
"The rise in claimant count unemployment in May could be a sign that this resilience is starting to wane."
There was a boost to the government's plans for a 'private sector recovery' as number of people employed in the private sector increased by 205,000 to reach 23.38m.
Meanwhile as government cuts took hold the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 39,000 to reach 5.9m, the lowest figure since March 2003.
Again the growth in part time workers outstripped the total number of full timers.
The number of full-time workers increased by 82,000 to reach 21.32m and the number of part- time workers increased by 83,000 to reach 7.97m.
The number of people who said they were working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 25,000 on the quarter to reach 1.41m.
The number of self-employed people increased by 84,000 over the quarter to reach 4.17m, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.
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