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Unemployment at highest level since 1997

Unemployment in the Isle of Man has hit a twelve-year high, and now stands at 2.2% of the economically active population.

Last month the number of people looking for work went up by 205, from 721 to 926.

Treasury Minister Allan Bell says the increase was bigger than anticipated, citing job losses in retail, hospitality and construction as the major influences on the figure.

Mr Bell believes there could be further increases in the coming months, but says it's not all doom and gloom.

He told Manx Radio:

"We are still experiencing very near record levels of people in employment - we still have somewhere in the region of 45,000 people in work on the Island.

"Equally this month, we have another 250 odd vacancies still to be filled, so it's not all doom and gloom.

"There is an increase, but it is only to 2.2% and there are other signs of good news around that.

"And that needs to be put into comparision as well with the United Kingdom, where their unemployment rate is now 6.3% and Ireland, on the other side, which is up to 9.2%."

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