Jobless rate falls – along with the employment rate

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The latest labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that there has been a fall in the number of unemployed but also a fall in the employment rate.

Jim Murphy, minister of state for employment and welfare reform, said: “This is a strong set of figures. The numbers on each of the main benefits – Jobseeker’s Allowance, incapacity benefits and lone parent benefits – are down over the year, the number of people in jobs continues to rise and the number of vacancies remains very high.”

The latest figures show an 18,000 rise in the number of employed people over the quarter and a 221,000 rise over the year. The ILO measurement of unemployment also fell by 3,000 – but is up by 151,000 over the year.

But the number of people who are classed as economically inactive – of working age but not looking for a job – has risen by 42,000 over the quarter. But the underlying trend is down – over the year the number of economically inactive people fell by 71,000.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 3,800 in February – to 922,200 – and by 2,800 over the year.

The number of vacancies remains high, with an estimate of 622,800 unfilled vacancies in the three months to February.

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