UK unemployment falls by 35,000 to 2.65m, ONS reports

 

Chris Grayling, Employment Minister: "Far, far, far too many people still unemployed"

UK unemployment has registered its first fall since last spring, according to official figures.

Unemployment fell by 35,000 to 2.65 million over the December-to-February period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The unemployment rate edged down from a 12-year high of 8.4% to 8.3%, the lowest level since the summer of last year.

The claimant count rose by 3,600 in March to 1.61 million.

That is the highest total since October 2009, according to the ONS.

"If you look at the longer-term picture, unemployment rose quite strongly during the summer of last year, then the increases tailed off a bit towards the end of the year," Nick Palmer from the ONS told BBC News.

"So despite this latest decrease, the level of unemployment is significantly higher than it was a year ago, in fact it is some 170,000 higher than it was at the same point a year ago," he said.

Part-time concerns

The ONS data showed that the number of people having to settle for part-time work because they can't find full-time jobs has risen 89,000 to 1.4 million, its highest level since records began in 1992.

That trend is a concern to the TUC, whose general secretary Brendan Barber said: "While any rise in the number of jobs is welcome, the fact is that full-time employment is still falling and a record [number] are now stuck in involuntary part-time work."

Get help

Jobs centre, London

But Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: "One of the things we are seeing is more people coming back into the workplace.

"Some of those moving into part-time work we know are women who either have got children and are coming back into part-time work because they are at school, or who are older and the children are grown-up and are coming back into part-time jobs.

"There are more of those in the workforce today than there were a few months ago," he said.

In an interview with the BBC, Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, expressed his concern over those who have been unemployed for at least a year: "The number of people long-term unemployed is now up about 50% on the year.

"What that shows is that the jobs crisis is becoming deep-set and that's a real worry because it makes the challenge of getting our country back to work harder and harder still.

"I'm afraid it's now become very, very clear that the Budget has done nothing to move the needle on creating growth or getting people back into jobs," he said.

'Underemployment'

Nicholas Palmer, ONS: ''This is the first decrease we have seen in unemployment since spring last year''

The latest report contained some encouraging news for younger jobseekers, with the number of unemployed 16-24 year-olds falling to 1.03 million.

However, the rate of youth unemployment, at 22.2%, remains high.

At the other end of the age scale, the Age UK charity pointed out that older women were increasingly prone to joblessness.

"The number of unemployed women aged between 50 and 64 has risen by 27% since this time last year - a significantly bigger increase than any other age group," said Age UK's director general Michelle Mitchell.

The latest report shows that prospects for employment differ across the UK:

Within the English regions the picture is also very varied:

  • The North East saw unemployment fall by 9,000, but the region still has the highest rate in England, of 11.2%
  • The South East recorded a fall in the jobless total of 2,000. It has the lowest rate in England, of 6.3%

Across the UK, average earnings rose by 1.1% in the year to February, the slowest pace since the summer of 2010.

Mike Fetters, director at jobs website Totaljobs.com, said: "Today's figures flatter to deceive.

"Whilst on the surface they look rosier than those of the past few months, they hide a number of concerns - not least the staggeringly high levels of underemployment.

"We have seen the retail sector take another battering, with more closures announced, and concerns for the eurozone have resurfaced."

 

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 644.

    Pt2.
    Of course unemployment has dropped because.
    1) The age at which you retire has increased = more people working will reduce the 'statiscal percentage' of unemployed people.
    2) Students now finish school at 18 = Less youths aged 16-18 not working, therefore less youths are statistically unemployed.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 307.

    Assuming the figures were calculated in the same way that they were last month, this is good news. But hold the champagne: inflation went down last month and it's back up again this month.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 296.

    got made redundant twice last year, got a new job within a few months each time.
    I am not anything special so I dont see what all the fuss is about :S

    we can all find a job if we realy want too

  • rate this
    -26

    Comment number 156.

    The amount of unemployment in this country is ridiculous. There's too many people saying there aren't any jobs out there. There are plenty of jobs out there, there's just too many people who can't be bothered to get one. Too much money is given to people who simply cannot be bothered. And why should they? They're better off than those of us that work! It should be get a job or lose your benefits!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 132.

    Benefits slashed
    Job applicants increased
    Unemployment falls

    coincidence?

 

Comments 5 of 13

 

More Business stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Kolelinia LtdCycling evolution

    The halfbike is a light, compact contraption that could revolutionise the urban commute

Programmes

  • A woman riding a bicycleClick Watch

    Cycling tech - from charging your phone with pedal power to backpacks that double as indicators

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.