Unemployment falls while wages increase

Unemployment in the UK fell by 5,000 people in the three months to April 2013, latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown.

There were 2.51 million people out of work during this period, although the unemployment rate for February to April remains broadly unchanged at 7.8 per cent on the quarter.

Comparing February to April with the previous three months, there was a rise of 24,000 in the number of employed people, up 432,000 on the year.

Employment for workers aged 65 and over was also over a million for the first time, 'partly through more people staying on in work and more people of this age group in the population,' said the ONS.

Average pay also increased to £447 in the three months to April 2013, with average weekly earnings rising by 0.9 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

However, the rise in wages remains below the rate of inflation which rose 2.4 per cent in the year to April 2013.

Meanwhile, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell an unexpected 8,600 in May from a month earlier to 1.51 million - its lowest level in two years.

Debating the figures in Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the figures as a sign of economic recovery.