Unemployment hits another milestone

Jun 17 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of people in the UK claiming unemployment benefit has fallen for the 12th consecutive month, taking the claimant count to a 29-year low.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number claiming benefit fell by 12,000 in May to 862,000, a fall of 9.1 per cent compared year on year.

The Government's preferred International Labour Organisation measure of unemployment also fell by 9,000 to 1.43m in the three months to April, while the number in work increased by 30,000 over the quarter.

The figures also reveal the proportion of men over 65 and women over 60 in the workforce grew by 1.3 per cent to 988,000 Ė the highest percentage rise of any age group.

Meanwhile, average wage rises excluding bonuses continued to accelerate, rising to 4.1 per cent from 3.9 per cent in March. Overall earnings growth including bonuses slowed from 5.2 per cent to 4.3 per cent in the three months to April as the effect of January bonus payments faded.