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Employment Minister says latest figures are positive

Latest job figures out today show that the south west has recorded the biggest fall in unemployment of any region, and now has the lowest rate.

Employment Minister Esther McVey MP says this is very positive for the South West.

The current figure stands at 4.9 per cent, compared with the national average of 6.8 per cent. The jobless total fell by forty one thousand in the first three months of the year, a drop of one point six per cent.

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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.

Job seeker finally gets his dream job

Michael Wright sent out 300 job applications before getting a job as a games developer

A man from Bristol who sent out more than 300 job applications now has a job.

22 year old Michael Wright is now working as a games developer after sending out the applications six months ago.

We'll find out if his success bucked the trend when the latest unemployment figures are released later today.

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Labour: Welfare reform 'has comprehensively failed'

Shadow employment minister Stephen Timms. Credit: PA Wire

Stephen Timms, shadow employment minister, said: "The Government’s welfare reform has comprehensively failed at a time when youth unemployment is edging towards a million, and long-term unemployment is at its highest level in 17 years.

"The Youth Contract is on course to miss its target by 92 per cent, and the flagship Work Programme has not hit a single one of its minimum performance standards."

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Union: 'This is a recovery for the top 1%'

The jobs news is mixed. A further rise in employment is encouraging but the number of young people out of work is creeping back towards a million.

The Government's idea of economic recovery is one where the super-rich are rewarded with tax cuts, while low-paid, insecure work is perfectly acceptable for ordinary workers.

It's no wonder consumers are having to run down their savings to keep up with the rising cost of living.

This is a recovery for the top 1%, while the living standards crisis continues for everyone else.

– TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady
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Unemployment figures 'paint a positive picture'

Today's figures show a record high employment level, with more women in work than ever before.

This growth has been driven by a rise in permanent, private sector jobs, which suggests businesses are feeling positive about the future.

– Pensions Minister Steve Webb

With 29,000 fewer people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance compared to this time last month, and more people in work than ever before, today's figures paint a positive picture of the UK labour market.

There are now more jobs available than at any time since the end of 2008, and more hours being worked than ever before - which shows that there are opportunities out there for people who want to work and get on in life.

– Employment Minister Mark Hoban
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