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British Unemployment Rate Falls

July 15, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ The unemployment rate in Britain fell to an average of 6.3 percent in the March-May period from 6.4 percent in the February-April quarter, but more people are seeking jobless benefits.

The Office of National Statistics disclosed Wednesday the average number of people unemployed was 1,807,000 from March to May, compared with an average of 1,835,000 in the February-April period.

But the number of people seeking unemployment benefits _ Britain’s old method for calculating joblessness _ showed a slight increase. The number of people filing jobless claims rose by 700 in May, for a total of 1,367,600, the statisticians said.

Meanwhile, British wages are climbing, stirring more concerns about inflation.

Workers saw their pay increase by an annual rate of 5.3 percent in May, compared with 5.4 percent in April.

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