UK jobless total falls by 7,000


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The Olympics is thought to have helped drive a further fall in UK unemployment after another leap in the number of people in work, official figures showed today.

The jobless total fell by 7,000 in the quarter to July to 2.59 million, an unemployment rate of 8.1 per cent.

The Office for National Statistics said the number claiming jobseekers allowance last month was 1.57 million, down by 15,000 on July - the largest monthly fall since June 2010.

London accounted for 5,500 of the fall in the so-called claimant count, suggesting a jobs boost from the London Games.

The number of people in work increased by 236,000 to 29.6 million, which is the largest quarterly rise for two years.

The ONS said the Games was likely to have been a driving factor behind the jump in employment, with London accounting for 91,000 of the rise.

Other figures revealed the number of part-time workers increased by 134,000 to reach 8.12 million - the highest since records began in 1992.

The number of Britons working part-time because they could not find a full-time job also hit a record high of 1.42 million.

The ONS also revealed that public sector employment fell for the eleventh quarter in a row, by 235,000 to 5.7 million.

While today's fall in the headline rate of unemployment was lower than many economists were expecting, the drop in the claimant count was far higher than forecast.

The figures also showed the number of people out of work for over a year was the highest for more than 16 years - at 904,000, up 22,000 on the previous quarter.

Those classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a sick relative, on early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 181,000 to nine million.

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the continued fall in unemployment was good news, but that for the economy to recover at a faster pace more people need to find full-time work.

He added: "Policies targeted at stimulating job creation, such as extending the National Insurance contributions holiday, are needed to give small firms the confidence to create full-time positions and take on staff."

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the Government needed a long term plan of job creation to ease the UK's economic woes.

He said: "For families suffering the misery of unemployment, any decrease will be welcome news, but it is clear when you look at the bigger economic picture that any talk of growth is premature.

"In areas such as Yorkshire and Humberside, and the West Midlands - where unemployment is already among the highest in the UK - unemployment continues to go up, meaning yet more misery for families struggling to get by."


Unemployment in the regions between May to July was:

Region Total unemployed Change on quarter Unemployment rate

North East 134,000 minus 11,000 10.4%

North West 316,000 minus 8,000 9%

Yorkshire/Humber 272,000 plus 23,000 10%

East Midlands 193,000 plus 5,000 8.3%

West Midlands 237,000 plus 16,000 8.8%

East 201,000 minus 9,000 6.5%

London 377,000 minus 22,000 8.9%

South East 283,000 minus 6,000 6.3%

South West 153,000 minus 9,000 5.7%

Wales 132,000 plus 1,000 8.9%

Scotland 223,000 plus 4,000 8.2%

N Ireland 71,000 plus 10,000 8.2%