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Unemployment falls as Olympics boost job figures

Unemployment in the UK fell by 65,000 over the last quarter and now stands at 2.58 million or 8.1 per cent of the working population, the lowest it has been for a year.

The figures show that the run-up and preparation for the London 2012 Olympics have helped to boost the number of jobs available and contributed to the fall in unemployment.

Government ministers are hopeful that this won't be a temporary factor that boosts London and not the rest of the country.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said: "I am always cautious about trends. The reality is we have had a good few months in the labour market.

"A big event like the Olympic Games is bound to have an economic impact. It is bound to see the creation of more jobs.

"I hope the Games will make a lasting contribution economically by boosting activity now that has a ripple effect in the months ahead. In almost every part of the UK we have seen an increase in people in work over the last quarter. It is not just a London and south east issue."

The official data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the second consecutive fall and shows a bigger drop in unemployment than most analysts expected.

  • The employment rate for people aged 16 – 64 increased by 0.3 per cent from March to May to reach 70.7 per cent. The number of people employed in the same period rose by 181,000 to 29.35 million, the largest quarterly increase for ten months.
  • The number of full-time workers increased by 133,000 to reach 21.37 million and the number of part-time workers rose by 48,000.
  • Job increases rose for almost all sections of the population, particularly those aged 25-34 where there was a rise of 79,000.
  • Young people aged 16-24 also saw a small fall in unemployment in the quarter bit the total remained above one million at 1.02 million.
  • The number of people aged over 65 in employment increased by 52,000 to reach 929,000, the highest number since records began in 1992.
  • Long-term unemployment increased in the quarter. The number of people who have been unemployed for over two years increased by 18,000 over the quarter to reach 441,000, the highest number since 1997.
  • The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) was up by 6,100.

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