Unemployment rate falls

Overall unemployment is falling, but long-term unemployment is up (Pic: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty)

Official data shows more people in employment – but not full time.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday showed a drop in unemployment in the UK.

The ONS data shows that, for the three months to May 2010, the unemployment rate was 7.8%, down 0.1% on the quarter. This means the total number of unemployed people is now 2.47 million – 34,000 fewer than the previous quarter. In addition, the number of people unemployed for up to six months fell by 54,000 to 1.16 million.

However, long-term unemployment went up, with the number of people unemployed for more than 12 months increasing by 61,000 to reach 787,000 over the same period – the highest figure for well over a decade.

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The number of job vacancies for the three months to June 2010 was 486,000 – up by 10,000 over the quarter. The sectors showing the largest increase were wholesaling, retailing and motor vehicle repairs.

Though fewer people are unemployed now than three months ago, many of the jobs contributing to these figures are part-time. There are 7.82 million people in part-time employment – the highest since records began in 1992 and representing more than a quarter of the workforce.

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