UK’s fragile economy is seeing a glimmer of hope on the employment front with unemployment falling for the first time in almost a year.
Office of National Statistics has said that unemployment on the government’s preferred International Labour Organisation levels has shown a decline of 35,000 in the three months to March to 2.65 million falling for the first time since May 2011.
Though the rate came down by 0.1 percentage points it has given hopes of a spring bounce in the UK’s economy.
But ONS also said that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit was still rising. The total number of people who were on Jobseeker's Allowance was 1.61 million in March, up by a mere 3,600 on a month earlier.
Howard Archer, of consultancy IHS Global Insight, said that largely the latest jobs data were relatively heartening and raised hopes that the economy has returned to basic modest growth.
Official figures are to be published next Wednesday which will reveal whether the economy has improved in the first three months of 2012. A negative number would signal recession.
Youth unemployment, which has been a critical factor in the politics of the country, also declined slightly, by 9,000 in the three months to February according to the latest updates of ONS.
However, there was a fresh increase in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who have been unemployed for a long period. In March, there were 54,700 young people who had been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for more than 12 months, up from 49,500 a month earlier.
Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, has suggested that the sharp rise in this measure could reveal problems with the government's Work Programme, which outsourced the job of tackling long-term joblessness to a series of private sector providers.