UK Unemployment Total Drops By 49,000
Unemployment has fallen to its lowest total for over a year, although there has been an increase in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance, according to official figures.
The jobless total dropped by 49,000 in the quarter to September to 2.51 million, the lowest figure since last summer.
But the so-called claimant count jumped by 10,100 last month to 1.58 million, the highest since July, and the biggest monthly rise since last September.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of people in work increased by 100,000 in the latest quarter to just under 30 million, a rise of more than half a million over the past year.
Other figures from the ONS showed that long-term unemployment - those out of work for over a year - increased by 12,000 in the quarter to September to 894,000, while 443,000 people have been jobless for over two years, up by 21,000.
Part-time employment increased by 49,000 to 8.1 million, close to a record high, while there were 51,000 more people in full-time jobs, at 21.4 million.
Employment minister Mark Hoban told Sky News he believed a portion of the higher number seeking jobseeker's allowance were those no longer claiming disability allowance.
"These figures suggest that our welfare reforms are working, with fewer people on long-term sickness benefits and more people either in or looking for work."
He added: "It's good news to see yet another increase in the number of people in work and to see unemployment fall again.
"The fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, although we're not complacent about the scale of the challenge still facing us."
Unemployment among women fell by 10,000 to 1.09 million, and by 39,000 among men to 1.43 million.
Meanwhile, unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds fell by 49,000, which accounts for the total fall in today's jobless figures.
More young people are classed as economically inactive, most of whom were in full-time education.
Neil Carberry, the CBI's director for employment and skills, said: "It's encouraging that people are continuing to find jobs and that the unemployment rate is falling.
"But progress on getting people into work is much slower than we saw earlier in the year, and last month there was a troubling rise in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance."
Average earnings have failed to match inflation. They increased by 1.8% in the year to August, up by 0.1% on the previous month, giving average weekly pay of £471, including bonuses.