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Labour: Employees 'over £1,600 a year worse off'

A fall in the number of people unemployed is welcome, but people are now "worse off than when David Cameron came to office," says Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves.

The comments come as the Office for National Statistics released its latest figures on UK unemployment numbers.

While this fall in overall unemployment is welcome, working people are over £1,600 a year worse off than when David Cameron came to office and pay has fallen behind inflation.

Thousands of people who work hard are struggling to make ends meet because of the Government's failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and make work pay.

– Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves

More: Number of prople out of work falls by 161,000 to 2.16m

TUC: Worrying that 'pay-packets have nosedived'

Despite climbing figures in those in employment "workers are still not getting pay rises" says the general secretary of the Trade Union Council, Frances O'Grady.

The General Secretary of the TUC has said pay-packets have nosedived Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

He said: "Pay packets have nosedived since the Government prematurely declared an end to Britain's cost-of-living crisis last month.

"It's great that more people are joining the workforce but hugely worrying that workers are still not getting the decent pay rises they need to get by."

The comments come as the Office for National Statistics released its latest figures on UK employment numbers.

More: Number of prople out of work falls by 161,000 to 2.16m

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Esther McVey: Businesses 'feeling more confident'

Employment minister Esther McVey has welcomed the latest figures on employment by the Office for National Statistics:

As we build a stronger economy, businesses up and down the country are feeling increasingly confident about creating jobs

Many thousands more people are in work every day - ensuring a better future for them, their families, and for the country as a whole.

– Esther McVey

More: Number of prople out of work falls by 161,000 to 2.16m

Unemployment '500k higher' than before financial crisis

Unemployment numbers have fallen by 347,000 from a year ago, but those still out of work is estimated at "around 500,000 higher" than before the financial crisis.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills reports:

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Number of people employed in public sector (5.4m) has fallen by 280,000 in last year. Number employed in private sector up 1m to 25.1m.

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2.16 million people are unemployed in UK. Down 347,000 on a year ago but around 500,000 higher than before financial crisis began.

Unemployment numbers fell by 161,000 between February and April to 2.16 million, official figures by the Office for National Statistics showed today.

More: Number of prople out of work falls by 161,000 to 2.16m

Cameron: 'Record rise in employment' after latest figures

Prime Minister David Cameron has tweeted that more people will have a "brighter future" after employment numbers were released by the Office for National Statistics:

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A record rise in employment for last 3 months. 5500 more people in work each day. All with the security of a pay packet and brighter future.

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Today we reached a major milestone in our #LongTermEconomicPlan: 2 million new private sector jobs since 2010. More security for people.

More: Number of prople out of work falls by 161,000 to 2.16m

Average earnings slows despite record employment

The average earnings for employees has increased by 0.7% in the year to April, meaning the growth of workers pay has slowed 1.7% in the previous month, the Office for National Statistics have said.

This slowdown in total pay was largely accounted for by bonuses, which fell sharply in recent months as tax changes were introduced.

Workers earnings have slowed down by 1.7%. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

More: Number of prople out of work falls by 161,000 to 2.16m

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Record high of over 30.4 million people in work

The number of people in work is now more than 30.4 million people - which is the highest since records began in 1971.

The number of people out of work is falling. Credit: PA

There was a further fall in unemployment today which was fuelled by a record high of 4.5 million people who are self-employed.

The number of people working for themselves jumped by 183,000 from January to March, compared with a rise of 375,000 over the past year.

Rates rise could be sting in tail after unemployment fall

ITV News Economics Editor Richard Edgar has tweeted:

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Unemployment drops to 6.8% in 3 months to March. Great news but comes with possible sting in the tail: an earlier rise in interest rates.

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That fall driven by the biggest rise in number of people with jobs since records began in 1971, up 283,000

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Less good news on wages. Overall pay up 1.7% - now outpacing inflation (1.6%) but it's lower than expected and pay ex bonuses only 1.3%

Read: Unemployment falls by 133,000 to 2.21 million

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