The number of people unemployed in
the UK fell by 34,000 to 2.47m in the three months to May, official figures
That took the jobless rate to 7.8
per cent, the lowest for a year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The number of people in work rose
by 160,000 in the three months to May, the biggest rise since August 2006.
However, the increase was due to a
record 148,000 rise in the number of part-time workers, while full-time workers
increased by just 12,000.
The ONS said the percentage of
workers in part-time jobs was 27 per cent, its highest since records began in
The increase in the levels of both
unemployment and employment can partly be explained by a fall in the number of
people classed as economically inactive.
This decline – the first in more
than a year – indicates that people are coming back into the job market, either
as workers or job hunters, after a period of not looking for work.
There was also a rise in the number
of people out of work for more than a year. It rose to 787,000, a level not
seen since 1997.
And although the UK overall saw a
0.1 per cent fall in unemployment, the number out of work rose in Scotland (0.3
per cent), Wales (0.1 per cent) and Northern Ireland (0.6 per cent).
The UK figures will raise hopes
that the economic recovery is gaining momentum. Although some experts think unemployment
could start rising again by the end of next year.
The UK jobless rate compares with
10 per cent in the eurozone, 9.5 per cent in the US and 5.2 per cent in Japan,
the ONS report showed