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UK Unemployment Falls By 45,000 To 2.63m, Part-Time Workers At Record High

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The number of jobseeker's allowance claimants fell by over 13,000 between January and March
The number of jobseeker's allowance claimants fell by over 13,000 between January and March

Unemployment has fallen by 45,000 between January and March to 2.63 million, the second consecutive month that the number has dropped.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month fell by 13,700 to 1.59 million, said the Office for National Statistics, the biggest fall of its kind since July 2010.

While, average earnings increased by 0.6% in the year to March, 0.5% down on the previous month, the number of people in work increased by 105,000 to almost 30 million. However, this was entirely due to a rise in part-time workers.

Almost eight million Britons are now in a part-time job, the highest since records began in 1992, while those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work increased by 73,000 to a record high of 1.4 million.

Average earnings increased by 0.6% in the year to March, down by 0.5 percentage points on the previous month because of lower bonuses in the private sector.

Self-employment has also reached a record figure of 4.1 million, up by 89,000 since the previous quarter.

In less good news for the Government, other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people unemployed for more than a year increased by 27,000 to 887,000, the worst total since 1996.

The number of people unemployed for more than two years rose by 5,000 to 428,000.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said that Wednesday's figures were: "A welcome step in the right direction. For a number of months now, employment has been growing and this is starting to feed through into improving unemployment figures.

"However, we still face significant international uncertainty so we need to hold firm on our current economic strategy and continue to do everything we can to ensure unemployment continues to fall."

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