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UK unemployment drops by 51,000

The number of unemployed people in the UK fell by 51,000 to 2.6 million for the three months to April, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal.

The unemployment rate stands at 8.2%, down 0.2% from the previous three months.

However the number of people who have been unemployed for over a year rose 30,000 to 886,000. The number of those out of work for more than two years also rose 29,000 to 434,000.

The claimant count, measuring those on Jobseeker’s Allowance, increased by 8,100 in May to 1.6 million.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 21.9% in the three months to April, down 0.6% from the previous quarter.

Tony Dolphin, chief economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research, says: “The headline fall in unemployment today is good news. It seems private sector employment is expanding despite economic growth contracting over the same period.

“But the bad news is the number of people unemployed long-term is continuing to rise, with more people out of work for more than a year than at any time since the mid-1990s. There are also now more people working part-time who say they want a full-time job than ever before.”

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