Rise in claimant count: no surprise
The rise in the claimant count in January is disappointing but not a shock - the big surprise was the previous two months of declines, while the economy was still technically in recession.
With the recovery still so uncertain, the best bet is for further rises in the jobless total in the next few months. But on the basis of these figures, we can still expect unemployment to peak earlier - and somewhat lower - than many would have expected a year ago.
Once again, rising part-time employment over the last three months of 2009 has partly offset a 37,000 fall in the number employed full-time. But we can draw some comfort from the fact that this decline in full-time employment is the smallest since the recession began.