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 342.

    Okay, so 51000 of unemployment, where have they gone? To low paid, part time work
    see 319
    full-time workers increased by 82,000, parttimeworkers increased by 83,000 of which 25000 actually (said they) wanted a full-time job.
    Average earnings have been pretty constant

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.

    Okay, so 51000 of unemployment, where have they gone? To low paid, part time work. Even if it was fall time work, it's less 1% of the previouse unemployed.The private sector, needs people to spend money. They wont do this if they fear for there jobs, and pensions, so there is no demand. I bet this is just a short term recovery, due to the olympics, after that's over we'll see the figures go back

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    Employment statistics are worthless now!
    There are so many bent employment agencies out there now that you could manipulate 100,000 jobs any way you would want to and in the mean time they are destroying our workforce and skills structure!
    They offer us nothing but a quick fix!
    We need permanent jobs and real statistics!

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    @ 316. Billyhano
    "The flaw in this "austerity works" argument remains: Cut wages everywhere, and you reduce the one thing the private sector needs to get us out of a slump, customers with disposable income."

    Your position is short term, sustainable growth through austerity takes time to filter through. Lower inflation, people living within their means and paying off debts must come first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    Come on people. Europe's a mess. Unemployment is Spain etc is rocketing, and yet the UK is managing to maintain a steady ship, with employment actually rising. Stop winging.

    true, we only have austerity-lite + we have a proper fiat currency, if the tories had the courage of their professed convictions & had gone down the European austerity route we'd be in a much worse state now

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    Statistically insignificant.

    Must try harder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    We should be reducing the working week and job sharing

    The thing is that even in the good times unemployment is built into the modern economic Govt system, 400crs too short but they wrongly think low unemployment causes inflation so they build unemployment into the system, if they changed certain things we could have 98%+ employment in the good times & not much worse now,

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    I doubt the figures are rigged as such. With seasonal jobs plus temporary jobs there is likely to be more people in some sort of work. Another factor is the number of people working just a small number of hours who formerly had full time work. An ex colleague redundant from a "proper" job last yr. is now working 15 hrs/week on temp. contract, not unemployed but not comparable job. Statistics?

  • Comment number 334.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    Come on people. Europe's a mess. Unemployment is Spain etc is rocketing, and yet the UK is managing to maintain a steady ship, with employment actually rising. Stop winging.

    Politicians will of course put a spin on the numbers for their own ends, but talk of "rigging the stats" is out of order imho, and unfair on those in the ONS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    If you stick an additonal European worker tax of 10% for long term europeans working in the UK you may suddenly find another 2-5 million jobs will suddenly become available?

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    The same pattern happened last year. The first quarter saw unemployment fall, but as soon as the cuts started to bite, it rose again by far more. Public sector redundancies seem to happen mostly in the quarter 2,3 and 4.

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    The only people rigging the figures are those of you attempting to justify claims that unemployment hasn't actually fallen in the last 3 months.

    I expect most of you were happy to believe the figures when unemployment was rising. Now, all of a sudden they are wrong.

    Accept it, positive things can actually happen to the economy even when the tories are in charge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    @324.Pete Lewis
    Firstly, I'm suspicious about those figures - they're probably rigged.

    The ONS report contains a huge amount of highly detailed information, it is 51 pages long & includes regional data, its not rigged though not everything may be as accurately counted as they think.
    Any rigging comes from the bits of the 51 pages the BBC & politicians & others choose to quote

  • Comment number 328.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    UK unemployment falls by 51,000, but UK jobless claimant count posts shock rise by 8,100 last month. (

    Can we trust those data?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    @324.Pete Lewis

    Any rise in unemployment - must be true. Any fall in unemployment - figures made up/rigged. Rubbish.

    Majority of jobs were in SE England and Scotland. Unemployment in NW England remains roughly the same. Read the detail before posting nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    all the data on employment by origin is in the report along with
    "These statistics have sometimes been
    incorrectly interpreted as indicating the proportion of new jobs that are taken by foreign migrants"

    the annual employment rate for non uk nationals fell by 1.4% however the number of non-uk nats employed rose by 49000 (annual) BUT those jobs were not all or even mainly new jobs

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Firstly, I'm suspicious about those figures - they're probably rigged. Secondly, if they are indeed genuine, there's no evidence of it here on the streets of Blackpool and if anything, people are complaining that things are getting worse on a daily basis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Yes YES but what about economic news that may have some effect on the situation across europe

    like this BREAKING NEWS;

    "Uh oh . . . The Karlsruhe judges today found that the center-right coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel had breached the rights of the German parliament."



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