UK employment has suffered its sharpest decline since 2015, new figures reveal.
The number of people in work declined by 58,000 to 32.75 million in the three months to September, with the number of job vacancies also falling, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
However, the slump in employment is smaller than analysts predicted, having forecasted a decline of 102,000.
The quarterly decline in employment was nevertheless the heaviest since May 2015, when the level fell by 65,000.
The ONS said the falling number of people working in retail, coupled with the number of store closures and collapses on the high street had significantly contributed to the slump in employment.
Despite the falling number of people in work, the number of people who were unemployed for the period also fell, dipping by 23,000 to 1.31 million.
The fall in both employment and unemployment was driven by an increase in the number of people deemed economically inactive, which covers people who have not been seeking work or are unable to work.
An ONS spokesman said: "The employment rate is higher than a year ago, though broadly unchanged in recent months.
"Vacancies have seen their biggest annual fall since late 2009, but remain high by historical standards.
"The number of EU nationals in work was very little changed on the year, with almost all the growth in overseas workers coming from non-EU nationals."