UK employment strengthens over second quarter

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The number of unemployed people in the UK fell by 4,000 in the second quarter of the year, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Figure’s published today show 2.51m people were out of work in the three-month period. The number of people without a job is down 49,000 from the same period in 2012.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in July dropped at a sharper pace, falling 29,000 to 1.4m.

The UK’s unemployment rate is “broadly unchanged” from the first three months of the year at 7.8 per cent – well above the 7 per cent the Bank of England wishes to see before it will consider lifting the base rate from its historic low of 0.5 per cent.

In addition, the number of people in employment rose by 69,000 in the three months to June when compared with the previous quarter and is up 301,000 from one year earlier.

IHS Global Insight chief UK and European economist Howard Archer says: “This is a broadly encouraging set of data overall, indicating that the labour market is increasingly benefiting from markedly improved economic activity and strengthening business confidence.

“We now expect unemployment to head gradually lower over the coming months. We anticipate that employment in the private sector will gradually pick up, although the increase is likely to be limited by improving productivity as many companies make greater use of the workers they already have.”