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UK unemployment falls to 2.58 million

 

The number of people out of work fell by 65,000 to 2.58 million in the three months to May, latest statistics have shown.

 

According to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate of unemployment now stands at 8.1%, the lowest level for almost a year.

 

The London Olympics are thought to have contributed to the boost in employment, with thousands of extra private sector jobs being created as a result of the impending Games.

 

However, the figures also reveal an increase in long-term unemployment, with the number of people out of work for more than two years up by a reported 18,000 to 441,000.

 

The number of people claiming jobseekers’ allowance (JSA) also rose, climbing by 61,000 to 1.6 million in June.

 

Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, said unemployment was ‘still much too high’.

‘But, I'm at least encouraged, in what are difficult times economically that we're seeing improvements, across the board,’ he added.

 

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the news, but it expressed concerns over the rise in those claiming JSA.

 

Commenting, the CBI’s Director for Employment and Skills, Neil Carberry, said: ‘Despite the challenging economic times, the British labour market is showing some resilience, with jobs being created and fewer people unemployed. The persistent rise in the number of people claiming JSA remains troubling, however.

 

He continued: ‘The rising number of JSA claimants, and the fact that we have 441,000 people who’ve been unemployed for over two years, emphasises how important the Government’s Work Programme is’.