The December Live Register data are due for release this morning. The seasonally-adjusted Live Register fell 3,400 in the month to 406,200 in November, its lowest total since June 2009. Furthermore, it was the seventeenth monthly decrease in a row. <p>

With the big drop in the numbers signing on, the unemployment rate fell to 12.5% in November from 12.6% in October and 12.7% in September, and its lowest level since July 2009. Having peaked at 15.1% in February 2012, it has since then started to decline steadily, a sign that the labour market is on the road to recovery, though the jobless rate remains a lot higher than desirable. <p>

<b>The unemployment rate is still the key indicator as far as the economy is concerned. It looks like it will end 2013 at 12.4% and average 13.2% for the year as whole, down from 14.7% in 2012 and 14.6% in 2011. <p>

As regards the Live Register total in December, we are looking for a monthly fall of 2,200 to 404,000.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>



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