UK unemployment rate falls - but Yorkshire figures on the rise

The new Government is hoping for continued improvement on the employment front as new figures reveal how many people are out of work. (PA Wire)

The new Government is hoping for continued improvement on the employment front as new figures reveal how many people are out of work. (PA Wire)

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The new Government has been given some good news, with unemployment continuing to fall and a record number of people in work - but the number of people seeking jobs in the Yorkshire and Humber region has risen by 13,000.

Official figures showed that unemployment has dipped to a seven-year low of 1.83 million, although the latest quarterly cut of 35,000 was the smallest for almost two years.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 12,600 in April to 763,000, the 30th consecutive monthly reduction.

Employment continued to rise, up by 202,000 in the three months to March to more than 31 million, the highest since records began in 1971.

The UK now has an employment rate of 73.5%, also a record, although for men the figure is even higher at 78.4%.

The claimant count has fallen by around 350,000 in the past year, although last month’s 12,600 was the smallest fall since March 2013.

Average earnings increased by 1.9% in the year to March, up by 0.2 percentage points on the previous month, giving an average weekly wage of £489.

Other data from the Office for National Statistics showed that almost nine million people were classed as economically inactive, including students, those looking after a family, on long-term sick leave or who had given up looking for work.

The total was down by 69,000 over the quarter, but little changed compared with a year ago.

Long-term unemployment has also fallen, down by 50,000 for those out of work for more than a year to 588,000.

The UK’s unemployment rate of 5.5% is the second-lowest in the European Union after Germany, and compares with the highest rates of 25% in Greece and 23% in Spain.

The number of job vacancies has increased by 9,000 to 733,000, almost 100,000 more than a year ago. A total of 110,000 people were made redundant in the quarter to March, 16,000 fewer than a year ago.

The number of people working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job increased by 8,000 in the latest quarter to 1.32 million.

Figures show how the Yorkshire/Humber region, together with the West Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland showed an increase in job seekers.

Regional unemployment between January and March:

• Yorkshire/Humber: 177,000 plus 13,000 (6.6%)

• North East: 96,000 minus 7,000 (7.5%)

• North West: 201,000 minus 28,000 (5.7%)

• East Midlands: 115,000 no change (4.9%)

• West Midlands: 178,000 plus 10,000 (6.4%)

• East of England: 137,000 minus 19,000 (4.4%)

• London: 285,000 minus 10,000 (6.2%)

• South East: 197,000 minus 15,000 (4.2%)

• South West: 119,000 minus 3,000 (4.3%)

• Wales: 99,000 no change (6.7%)

• Scotland: 168,000 plus 19,000 (6.0%)

• Northern Ireland: 55,000 plus 6,000 (6.2%)