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 202.

    If the government forced all the old job blockers to retire gracefully when they reach the state pension age there would be no need for any youth unemployment in this country.

    OAPs working beyond pension age = 1.41 million
    Youth Unemployment = 1.01 million

  • rate this

    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

    Comment number 200.

    How many of these 51,000 are simply people made redundant by Government cuts six months before whose contributions-based Job Seekers Allowance has finished and they fail the test for means-tested Job Seekers Allowance? They just drop off the radar but they are still there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    What can we believe anymore? I know from family experience that disable dpeople are being denied benfits which would make them count on the unemployed figures. Cynical, cynical, cynical....

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    I don't believe anyone seriously believes the coalition can create growth and reduce the deficit

    This government has no plan or structure for helping the private sector let alone the public. New business's cannot afford the cuts, the banks aren't loaning, and there are no grants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Watch next months figures rise with school leavers. The contributing factor to the figures dropping is partly due to those hitting retirement age and others who can afford it who are prepared to lower their living standards by getting out of the rat race and taking early retirement and those leaving the country. We don't see figures for these so how can the statistics mean much?

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    188 and 149 Plus don't forget that some people already get paid to work "in the Community", so they'd be out of work if people were forced to do it for free. then how can one be "available for work and actively seeking work" if they are working for nothing on a slave labour 'scheme'?
    England is already ruined as far as any Enlightenment and Compassion is concerned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    It's pretty dreadful that, with technology rendering so much menial work unnecessary, with a population that's healthier and living longer than any other time in history, and with a huge workforce standing idle, we can't seem to find anything useful for them to do!

    You wouldn't think this was a species that recently went to the Moon, would you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    189. Kristal Tips The truth is nobody actually knows how to count Unemployment in the UK. The figures should account for everyone not in employment but successive governments have excluded and hidden numbers to make the figures look better. The work programme i think is included on the figures as they are still in receipt of JSA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    181.Frater Ananda
    For 13 years Nu Labor said it was the Tory's fault, there's still plenty - including you - who still say it's Thatchers fault despite Nu Labor having had 13 years to right Thatchers so called wrongs and failing.

    All politicians of what ever tribe are as bad as each other, all looking for short term gain and nothing about the future. No such thing as an honest politician.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.


    FYI 51 000 as a % of 2 610 000 is aprox 2%

    Nice lad, thick as mince though

  • Comment number 191.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    Claimant count up, and sickness benefit claimant count up.

    More tax credit being paid than ever, because most jobs are part time.

    All going well, then?

  • rate this

    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

    Comment number 188.

    "149.England is Ruined

    Anyone claiming State Benefits and fit for work should be made to work in the community to earn their benefits."

    Have you costed it? Planning work, 'recruitment', tools, insurance, vehicles, transport to where the work is, supervision, training, fuel, etc etc. If you want to pay that fine, but community work is not a cost-free, or even cheap, option.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    # 169
    No 6 is there really any need to be mcynical about today's utterly spiffing news? The figures say it all - I'll wager that Gideon has his finger well and truly on the pulse of economic opportunity.

    Tel - good spot.Although, the low pay call centre workers will never be able to afford healthcare as all their money will go on their share of the rent for the flat they can never afford.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    165. England is Ruined
    There're not working for the community, they are working for their benefits.
    If I ever have to rely on benefits and I have to work for them, Why have I being paying National Insurance for the last 32 years?

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    I think these figures have more fudge than Cadburys.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    jobless figures going down because the jobcentres putting people on the work programme so it looks good for the goverment

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    What we never know is what type of work people are getting. Is it a case of low paid remedial work with no future prospects, or are they skilled jobs that will add overall value to the country in the long term and give people a real purpose in life.

    Figures are meaninless unless they are backed with real information, but then again, ministers are only interested in numbers, not people.


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