UK unemployment falls by 51,000

 

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Unemployment in the UK fell by 51,000 to 2.61 million in the three months to April, official figures have shown.

The jobless rate fell to 8.2%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

But the claimant count - the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - increased by 8,100 in May compared with April, to 1.60 million.

The ONS said the unemployment level in the UK overall was "showing some improvement".

Most of the decrease in the headline unemployment figure was made up of men. Female unemployment fell by only 1,000.

Youth unemployment fell by 29,000 to just over one million.

The ONS added there were decreases in unemployment across all age groups, except for the over-65s.

Overall, there were 29.28 million people in work, up 166,000 on the previous quarter. That was the largest quarterly increase since August 2010.

The ONS also pointed out that whereas in previous months, the rise in employment had been led by part-time workers, this month the increase was fairly evenly spread between part-time and full-time workers.

"This time we're seeing a very healthy increase in full-time jobs and that's clearly very welcome," Employment Minister Chris Grayling said.

But he added: "Any fall in unemployment is very welcome, but I remain cautious over the next few months, given the continuing economic challenges we face."

Long-term trends

Start Quote

The government must invest in jobs to get the economy growing again”

End Quote Brendan Barber TUC

Private sector employment rose by 205,000 to 23.38 million, but the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 39,000 to 5.9 million, the lowest figure since March 2003.

"That's clearly the private sector growing faster than the public sector is changing its rate of employment, so that's clearly what we always hoped would happen and that's good news," said Mr Grayling.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said that while the latest figures were "a ray of good news", it was worrying that there were now "very clear signs of lasting and long-term damage by persistent high levels of long-term unemployment".

"What we now see is about a third of people on the dole have been on the dole for over a year, we've still got youth unemployment over a million and the number on Jobseeker's Allowance went up yet again.

"So when you take a step back and you look at those trends there are some real worrying signs about the long-term damage that is being done to the British economy from the government's failure to get people back to work fast enough."

Calls for investment

Chris Grayling, Employment Minister: "I wouldn't put too much store on this month's figures"

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber also said the latest figures showed "some long overdue good news" in the labour market, but added there were still "real concerns" about a sustainable recovery.

"We now need to turn today's positive news into a steady fall in unemployment. The government must invest in jobs to get the economy growing again," he said.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) cited continued difficulties in the eurozone as contributing to uncertainty ahead.

"Further net increases in unemployment are still likely over the next year, but the peak will probably be lower than the 2.9 million figure predicted in our latest forecast," said David Kern, BCC chief economist.

"Businesses are keen to grow and invest, but the government needs to do more to help them create jobs."

There have been calls for the Bank of England to increase its quantiative easing programme, which injects new money into the economy which the aim of encouraging banks to lend.

Four of the Monetary Policy Committee voted to increase QE from its current level of £325bn at its meeting earlier this month, newly-released minutes show. This was just short of the majority of five needed to change policy.

 

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 201.

    We should be reducing the working week and job sharing, the financial and monetary system should be adapted to cater for this. There's never going to be enough jobs for everyone to work full time for 40 years and we don't need to anyway.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 189.

    How many temporary jobs have been created recently - security for the Jubilee, extra packers for the bunting manufacturers, staffing for the Olympics etc? Will we see a complete reversal in these figures once the Olympics is over? How many are actually in a "proper" job (ie permanent) rather than on a work programme that will, in all likelihood, not lead to a job at the end?

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 156.

    Being out of work for the first time aged 52 I am now looking and on JSA
    I carry out volunteer youth work which I did when in full time work.
    I could fill a lot more of my time in volunteer work but am not allowed to do more than 16 hours a week in fact I did more than 16 hours a week when working full time so had to cut down Rethink please

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 89.

    I wish it would apply to me, I have been trying to find work for a year, but 1, I am Bipolar-I, 2. I am over 50, and the doors keep on closing and closing on me. I wish well those who have been able to find work.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 63.

    This isnt news unemployment always goes down during the summer and this is a percentage drop in the ocean.Getting jobs in retail and losing jobs in engineering is not progress either! There are alot of highly skilled people out there looking for work and not finding it and they arent lay abouts either.This govt need to spin less and act more!

 

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