The number of jobless fell by 8,600 during April, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS found the Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant count at the start of May was 1.51m, down 8,600 from March 2013 and down 87,600 from a year earlier.
UK unemployment fell by 5,000 over the three months to the end of April, with 2.51 million people being out of work over this period. The jobless rate was 7.8 per cent, unchanged from three months earlier.
IHS Insight chief European & UK economist Howard Archer says: “The latest labour market data are broadly encouraging and modestly helpful to future growth prospects.
”A renewed rise in employment and falling unemployment on both measures indicate that the economy’s recent improvement has helped employment to pick up anew after faltering at the start of 2013. This is an encouraging development for hopes that the economy can build on its recent firmer performance.”
There was also a marked pick-up in headline earnings growth to 3.3 per cent in April, but this was primarily due to improved bonuses, says Archer.
He adds: “Underlying earnings growth remains extremely low and a constraint to consumer spending. Earnings excluding bonuses only rose 0.9 per cent year-on-year in April, which was well below the consumer price inflation rate of 2.4 per cent.”