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article imageNumber of EU workers slides before Brexit: data

By AFP     Nov 13, 2018 in World

The number of EU workers in Britain sank in the third quarter by the largest amount since records began, official data showed Tuesday ahead of Brexit.

The total of European Union nationals working in Britain fell 132,000 to 2.25 million in the three months to September from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

That was the biggest annual decline since the ONS started compiling the data in 1997, and was driven by fewer Eastern Europeans working in Britain.

The overall number of EU workers has now fallen for the last three quarters, down from a high of 2.4 million a year ago.

The news comes amid growing expectation that London could soon agree a Brexit deal with Brussels, ahead of the nation's departure at the end of March.

The ONS added Tuesday that the total number of unemployed people in Britain rose 21,000 to 1.38 million people in the third quarter.

The overall jobless rate -- which is the proportion of of the workforce that is unemployed -- climbed to 4.1 percent.

That was compared with 4.0 percent in the prior quarter and 4.3 percent in the same period of last year.

Meanwhile, average earnings including bonuses grew 3.0 percent in the three months to September compared with a year earlier, boosting the pound.

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