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UK unemployment rate falls to five-year low

BBC News posted 14 May 2014JCP

The number of people out of work in the UK fell by 133,000 to a fresh five-year low of 2.2 million in the three months to March, official figures show.

The jobless rate also fell to a five-year low of 6.8%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of people in work rose to 30.43 million, the highest since records began in 1971, helped by a rise in self-employment.

Average earnings in the three months to March were up 1.7% from a year earlier.

The growth rate in wages – which includes bonuses – was unchanged from the previous month and was slower than analysts had expected.

However, with the inflation rate at 1.6% in March – as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) – it means earnings rose faster than inflation for the first time since 2010.

Excluding bonuses, earnings grew by 1.3% in the three months to March when compared with a year earlier.

Youth unemployment down

In all, 283,000 more people found work in the three-month period, which was the largest quarterly increase since records began in 1971.

The number of people working for themselves reached a record high of 4.55 million, with self-employment jumping by 183,000 in the quarter to March, compared with a rise of 375,000 over the past year.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in April fell by 25,100 to 1.12 million.

And the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds fell by 48,000 to 868,000 – the lowest figure for five years.