Sigh of relief as unemployment falls again

By Georgie Keate

The government can breathe a sigh of relief as unemployment levels fell by 0.2%, official figures showed.

The positive news means unemployment stands at 8.2% from February to April – the third consecutive drop.

“Today’s figures show some long overdue good news in the labour market. New full-time jobs have been created and employment is up while unemployment has fallen," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said.

“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.”

The picture is not all rosy however, as the number of those claiming jobseeker’s allowance has risen by 8,100 from April to May.

The government’s cuts have also been reflected in the fall of public sector workers by 39,000, the lowest figure since March 2003.

The figures show that whereas the fall in unemployment in previous months was due to a rise in part-time workers, this quarter has also seen a rise in full-time workers.

In the private sector, workers rose by 205,000 and overall pay, including bonuses, has risen by 1.4% in the last year.

Youth unemployment still stands at over a million and the over-65s have seen no improvement. Most of those who have entered the job market have been men, with female unemployment falling by only 1,000.