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PARIS: Unemployment in advanced countries rose slightly in February, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Wednesday, a setback after recent falls.

Despite improvement in the general economic outlook for rich countries, the unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage points to 7.6 per cent from the January level, said the OECD.

The increase – due largely to rises in the United States and some eurozone countries – came after three months of falls in the overall rate of unemployment in the 34 countries the OECD covers.

High rates of unemployment remain one of the main legacies of the financial and eurozone debt crises.

The OECD said there were 11.4 million more people unemployed in its member states than when the financial crisis began in July 2008.

That figure meant that the OECD area, grouping advanced democracies, had managed to reduce the total by 3.8m since the highest point in April 2010.

But it still left 46m people qualifying as unemployed, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

In the recovering United States, the unemployment rate rose by 0.1 points in February to 6.7pc, after falling for three months.