UK unemployment falls by 51,000


Interview tips: Comedian Neil Mullarkey on dealing with nerves

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

    Comment number 82.


    "why is 33 scoring negative? Ever heard of irony?"

    The fact that you, too, are being marked -ve'ly either means: yes they have heard of irony, and suspect some foul Tory plot, or they haven't heard of irony (or don't understand it) and suspect you of being a Tory Central Office apparatchik or whatever....

    Heads they win, tails you lose. Maybe the advice should be...don't try humour

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    governments can not create jobs but they can create the condition for companies to create them. just remember ever quid payed in tax is a quid not spent sustaining or creating a new job.
    Bet this will still not stop the Labourites whinging though!!!

    the labourites whinge no matter what happens in the economy.

    why should we care what they say.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Now why do I just not believe this statement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Main points
    - majority of these are part time, hence prob. temporary.
    - 51,000 drop in the last three month, but perevious months largely part time.

    Seems that Poles and Easterns are getting fed up with this place and leaving their hotel / restaurant jobs to go home, and being filled by our people.

    At least now the ring wing cant now label those seeking work as lazy for not having a job!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Yet the claimant count has gone up, and these new jobs are nearly all part time, meaning low tax takes from them.

    Good news notionally, but one month's figures do not a trend make, though one hopes this is the start of a real improvement.

    What I'd like to know is are the part time wages of these people enough to pay their rent, or is the Housing Benefit bill for working folk still rising....

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    'No jobs.'

    Tell that to eastern europeans and asian workers.

    They have found jobs after arriving in the UK.

    Many of them can't even speak English properly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    51,000 compared with a working population of ca. 26,540,000 is just noise, statistically speaking. Less than 0.2%. It's not possible to read anything much long-term into this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Well it hasn't happened for me yet, still trying to find that job as an apprentice millionaire. Anyone interested in taking me on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Here we go again,so many who still are taken in by statistics that can be manipulated to suit,also the same old "English are too lazy to work"brigade,don't they ever tired of this old sharade.
    Truth is the English need permenant jobs,not seasonal so as to send money abroad like the eastern Europeans do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    why is 33 scoring negative?
    I read it as a hilarious satire on the excessive self-importance of the BBC. Why only yesterday there was a scathing HYS about the DG's whitewashing of the terrible pageant coverage.
    Creating non-jobs in bloated public sector organisations is exactly what we need as 33 says.
    Ever heard of irony?

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Simple figures like this are meaningless, there are too many factors to figure in. If more people are working and less taking benefits it is good for the country, thats it. The trouble is, a market economy needs unemployed people to keep wages down, What we need to know is how many people are unemployed for long periods of time and how to change this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    It appears the UK is starting to eke out some nice gains in the employment numbers. If it is sustainable, it has the lead on everyone around the G10 making its economy to place to invest in. I would expect GBP to be relatively ahead. There's still a lot of room to go though, and I would be cautious until more headway has been made.

    Michael Fried
    SVP, Caesar Trade

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    ~Two percent. I suppose it's a news item on a quiet day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.


    "What planet do they think we're on, I think somebody has been in the kitchen ,cooking the books again"

    I don't recall seeing this level of disgust and mistrust being voiced when unemployment was increasing (especially when it rose massively when Labour were in power).

    Odd that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    'More part time jobs only means more subsidy for private enterprise whilst ensuring a living wage cannot be achieved without the state subsidizing the employee'

    What subsidy does the business get ? Part time work has been around for years - if a business only needs someone for 20 hours a week what would be your suggestion ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    no what we should is force British to work for same wages as poles and cut all benefits so they either take work or starve. we as a nation can not sustain paying people to be lazy and not working.
    as john smith say if you do not work you shall not eat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    37 -Singleandnokids -sure -2.1 business studies from a Russell group, not a "new" University. She's bright, articulate etc. etc. -would have walked into a decent graduate job 10 years ago. Appreciate we're not in the land of milk and honey, but seems to be a waste of talent to me, not unrealistic expectations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Its looks then like Dave & George have got it right.. this will never do.. What are the Socialist ( Squeeze the workers ) till they squeak going to say now.
    The Private Sector seems to be employing D&G are right.
    Please more cuts in the P.S. more cuts in Benefits & Handouts.
    Then 50 % Tax cut across the board. 2nd term guaranteed. Socialist Thieves in the Political dust bin ( Perfect )

  • rate this

    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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