Women are continuing to lose their jobs at a faster rate than men, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
They show that 131,000 more people were in jobs between November and January than in the previous quarter, but that there was also a slight increase of 7,000 in unemployment.
The number of unemployed men was 1.43 million for November 2012 to January 2013, up 1,000 from August to October 2012. The number of unemployed women was 1.08 million for November 2012 to January 2013, up 5,000 from August to October 2012.
The unemployment rate now stands at 7.8%, 0.5% below the same level the year before. All the rise in employment was accounted for by private sector jobs, with the public sector shedding 20,000 jobs.
The ONS says the reason for the rise in both employment and unemployment figures is due to a fall in the number of economically inactive people, in part due to fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 64 as a result of changes in the state pension age for women.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) stayed relatively steady between January and February 2013 with only a small fall of 1,500.
Average weekly earnings excluding bonus payments rose by 1.2% compared to the previous year. In cash terms, average weekly earnings excluding bonus payments were £442 in January 2013, before taxes and other deductions from gross pay, up from £438 a year earlier.
However, the ONS says there continues to be a cut in the real value of pay due to an inflation level of 2.7%. The annual growth in weekly wages excluding bonuses has been continuously below inflation since August to October 2009.