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Employment minister says figures are 'encouraging'

Our welfare reform agenda is about making a fair and affordable system that incentivises work: giving people the support they need to get off benefits and into a job.

Today's figures are encouraging, with the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance down and the number of people in work increasing.

– Employment Minister Mark Hoban

The fall in the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits, together with the news that there are currently over half a million vacancies available in the UK economy, show that there are opportunities out there for those who are prepared to work hard, and who aspire to get on in life.

– Employment Minister Mark Hoban

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Unemployment down in South West

Unemployment in the South West has gone down according to figures released today.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) says a total of 156,000 people are unemployed in the region - 11,000 less than the last quarter. The rate of unemployment in the region is now 5.8%.

Nationally, long-term unemployment has increased to a 17-year high, despite another fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

CBI response to unemployment figures

Given the challenging economic conditions at the end of last year, it's unsurprising that we're now seeing fewer people in work. What's encouraging, however, is that economic conditions seem to be improving and that full-time jobs are still being created. With these figures showing the highest number of vacancies since 2008, this reflects businesses' more positive view of the year ahead."

– Neil Carberry, Director of Employment and Skills, CBI

Union's response to number of people out of work

These jobs figures are troubling. There are now more people out of work today than when the coalition took office three years ago. Those in work are taking a hammering in their pay packets with wage growth down to just 0.4%, while prices rise far more quickly. It's no wonder the economy is struggling when people in work are getting poorer every month."

– Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress

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Highs and lows of South West jobless

The South West was the region with the biggest increase in unemployment between January and March.

But the region had the lowest unemployment rate at 6.1%.

We are seeing continuing falls in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance which is positive. Whilst there has been a disappointing increase in the headline rate of unemployment, we shouldn't forget the progress we are making. We are not complacent. To win the global race we need to do all that we can to help people achieve their aspiration to look after themselves and their families."

– Conservative MP Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment
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