UK unemployment falls by 51,000
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Unemployment in the UK fell by 51,000 to 2.61 million in the three months to April, official figures have shown.
The jobless rate fell to 8.2%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
But the claimant count - the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - increased by 8,100 in May compared with April, to 1.60 million.
The ONS said the unemployment level in the UK overall was "showing some improvement".
Most of the decrease in the headline unemployment figure was made up of men. Female unemployment fell by only 1,000.
Youth unemployment fell by 29,000 to just over one million.
The ONS added there were decreases in unemployment across all age groups, except for the over-65s.
Overall, there were 29.28 million people in work, up 166,000 on the previous quarter. That was the largest quarterly increase since August 2010.
The ONS also pointed out that whereas in previous months, the rise in employment had been led by part-time workers, this month the increase was fairly evenly spread between part-time and full-time workers.
"This time we're seeing a very healthy increase in full-time jobs and that's clearly very welcome," Employment Minister Chris Grayling said.
But he added: "Any fall in unemployment is very welcome, but I remain cautious over the next few months, given the continuing economic challenges we face."'Real concerns'
End Quote Paul Kenny GMB
We need an emergency budget to reflate the economy, to restore demand, which will get people back to work and reduce the deficit”
Private sector employment rose by 205,000 to 23.38 million, but the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 39,000 to 5.9 million, the lowest figure since March 2003.
"That's clearly the private sector growing faster than the public sector is changing its rate of employment, so that's clearly what we always hoped would happen and that's good news," said Mr Grayling.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber also said the latest figures showed "some long overdue good news" in the labour market, but added there were still "real concerns" about a sustainable recovery.
"We now need to turn today's positive news into a steady fall in unemployment. The government must invest in jobs to get the economy growing again," he said.
However, Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "Unemployment of 2.61 million five years into recession is unacceptable, unnecessary and an unforgivable waste of human talents.
"Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Cable must conclude that Plan A to reduce the deficit to restore growth is not working and has stalled the recovery.
"We need an emergency budget to reflate the economy, to restore demand, which will get people back to work and reduce the deficit."