British jobs market shows 'encouraging' signs

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's jobs market shows encouraging signs of improvement, official data showed on Wednesday, boosting hopes of a strengthening economic recovery, according to analysts.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in the three months to the end of May, compared with 7.9 percent in the three months to April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

The number of unemployed people fell 34,000 in the three months to May to reach 2.468 million, under the International Labor Organization (ILO) measure.

And the number of Britons claiming benefits fell in June dropped 20,800 to 1.460 million people -- the fifth successive monthly drop and the lowest level for 15 months. The decline was in line with market expectations.

The ONS added that employment meanwhile rose 160,000 in the three months to May to 28.9 million people, which was the largest increase since the three months to August 2006.

"The latest labour market are broadly encouraging with a further decent drop in claimant count unemployment, the number of jobless finally falling on the ILO measure and employment spiking up," said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer.

"This suggests that the economy's continuing expansion, since returning to growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, is currently resulting in at least a temporary modest improvement in the labour market."

Earlier this week, official data confirmed that Britain pushed further away from recession with 0.3-percent economic growth in the first three months of the year.

However, the ONS had also revealed on Tuesday that Britain's recession was deeper than previously thought.

The recession, which began in the second quarter of 2008 and ended in late 2009, had slashed a total of 6.4 percent from British economic output, it said.

That was sharper than the previous estimate of a 6.2-percent contraction in gross domestic product.

© 2010 AFP

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