The Government was hit with a mixed bag of unemployment data today as the headline jobless rate fell but the number of dole claimants rose.
Unemployment fell by 51,000 between February and April to 2.61 million, official figures showed on Wednesday.
However, the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month rose by 8,100 to 1.6 million, said the Office for National Statistics.
Average earnings increased by 1.4% in the year to April, up 0.5% on the previous month.
The number of people in work saw its biggest increase since the quarter to August 2010 as the employment rate increased by 166,000 to almost 29.28 million - nearly equally split between full and part-time workers.
Almost eight million people are now in a part-time job, while those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work increased by 25,000 to 1.4 million.
Self-employment has reached a record figure of 4.17 million, up by 84,000 since the previous quarter.
But other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people unemployed for more than a year increased by 85,000 to 886,000.
The number of people unemployed for more than two years rose by 29,000 to 434,000.
Youth unemployment has also fallen, down by 29,000 over the latest quarter to 1.01 million.
There were 9.23 million economically-inactive people in the three months to April, a fall of 69,000, mainly due to a reduction in the number of students.
The UK's unemployment rate has fallen by 0.2 percentage points to 8.2%, lower than the European average of 10.3%.