Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that UK unemployment fell by 57,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to May.
Youth unemployment fell by 20,000. The number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in June fell by 21,200 to 1.48 million, the first fall below 1.5 million for nearly three years, but the number of long-term jobless hit a 17-year high.
Gordon Millward, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said:
“We have been seeing the same picture on unemployment for the past number of months but this quarters figures show some firm signs the labour market is moving in the right direction.
Youth unemployment is down. Female unemployment is down. Overall unemployment is down. This is good news.
“The FSB’s Small Business Index also suggests cause for optimism with small firms expecting to take on staff in the coming three months – even if growth in hiring is not as strong as we would like.
“However, long term unemployment remains a deep concern, standing higher than it has been in over 17 years. At present, there are few financial incentives for employers to take on disadvantaged job seekers such as the long term unemployed.
“It’s time for the Government to review the balance of incentives that currently exist between Work Programme providers and employers.”