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UK unemployment falls by 2,000

Credit: PA

Unemployment in the UK fell by 2,000 to 1.69 million between January and March, official figures show.

The number of people receiving benefits fell by 2,400 to 737,800 last month, the Office for National Statistics said.

It also revealed that average earnings increased by 2% in the year to March, 0.1% up on the previous month.

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Unemployment fell by 28,000 in three months

Unemployment fell to 1.68 million between November and January. Credit: PA

The government was given a pre-Budget boost as official figures showed a fall in the numbers out of work by 28,000 to 1.68 million between November to January.

The number of people on the claimant count, including those on Jobseeker's Allowance, was cut by 18,000 last month to 716,700, the lowest since 1975, figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed.

Employment has reached a record high of 31.4 million with an increase of 116,000 in the latest quarter.

But there was no significant increase in wages with the average earnings increasing by 2.1% in the year to January, up by 0.2% on the previous month.

And the figures also revealed a 177,000 increase in part-time workers to almost 8.5 million in the past year.

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EU migrants working in UK rises to record two million

While unemployment has risen, the number of EU migrants working in the UK has topped two million for the first time.

Official labour market figures showed a record 2,033,000 people foreigners were employed in the three months to June, up 4% on the previous quarter.

973,000
Workers born in eight 'A8' eastern European countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic.
189,000
Employees from Bulgaria and Romania.
93,000
Employees born in the US.

Gov't defends economic plan but Labour raises jobs 'worry'

The Government has said it is helping "millions across the country to succeed and achieve their full potential" despite the latest jobs figures showing more people out of work as unemployment rose again to 1.85 million.

Thanks to our long term economic plan we have already seen two million more people in jobs since 2010. On top of that, today's figures show job vacancies at a near record high - evidence of the continued confidence of British businesses, and potential for further growth in the UK economy.

Our one nation government is helping millions across the country to succeed and achieve their full potential. I was particularly pleased to see that wages are continuing to rise - meaning that hardworking people will see a real difference in their pay packets.

– Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith

His Labour counterpart, though, said the latest figures were "worrying", highlighting a rise in youth unemployment as of particular concern.

The rise in unemployment for a second month in a row is worrying and shows we cannot afford to be complacent about the recovery. With productivity stagnating, David Cameron and George Osborne must take bolder action to raise jobseekers’ skill levels to get more back into work and help build the high-skilled workforce Britain needs.

The rise in youth unemployment highlights a real danger that young people are being left behind. Ministers must urgently deliver more high-quality apprenticeships to give young people the skills they need to get a job and build a future.

– Labour’s Acting Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Timms
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