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Jobs figures suggest Cameron and Osborne have survived their 364 economists moment

22 January 2014

What is Ed Miliband going to ask David Cameron about at Prime Minister’s Questions today now that the latest employment figures show the biggest quarterly increase since records began, and the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment since 1997? Actually, there is quite a lot that he can talk about that means he can entirely avoid the subject – Nicky Morgan’s warning to the Tories about ‘hate’, Aidan Burley, the row between Number 10 and Home Office about stop-and-search and Syria – but the Prime Minister will make jolly well sure that he shoehorns it into any question that’s asked of him, even if it’s a backbench one about the welfare of horses in Cumbria.

Here are the figures. Unemployment fell by 167,000 between September and November to 2.32m (7.1%). The employment rate for September to November 2013 was 72.1%, up 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013. Average earnings increased by 0.9% in the year to November, no change from the previous month.