British unemployment rate drops to 7.8%
Britain's unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 7.8 percent in the three months to February, official data showed on Wednesday.
"The unemployment rate for the three months to February 2011 was 7.8 percent of the economically active population," the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
That compared with a rate of 7.9 percent in the three months to November and 8.0 percent in the three months to January.
Market expectations had been for a reading of 8.0 percent, according to economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
The ONS added that the number of unemployed in Britain fell by 17,000 to 2.48 million people in the three months to February, compared with the three months to November.
However, the number of unemployed aged 18-24 jumped 12,000 to 963,000 in the three months to February, edging closer to one million.
And the claimant count of people registered for unemployment benefits rose 700 between February and March to reach 1.45 million.
© 2011 AFP