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British unemployment drops to 7.9%

Oct 17 2012 12:31 AFP

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London - The number of unemployed people in recession-hit Britain fell by 50 000 to 2.53 million in the quarter to August from the total in the previous quarter, official data showed on Wednesday.

The unemployment rate sank to a 14-month low of 7.9%, compared with 8.1% in the three months to May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) added in a statement.

The numbers claiming jobless benefits meanwhile retreated by 4 000 in September to 1.57 million people. That was the third monthly drop in a row and the lowest total since July 2011.

The ONS also revealed that Britain's employment total hit a new record high, growing by 212 000 to 29.59 million people over the same period.

Britain escaped a deep downturn in late 2009 but fell back into recession at the end of 2011. Gross domestic product shrank 0.4% in the second quarter, or between April and June, compared with output in the first quarter.

Many analysts expect Britain to have emerged from recession in the third quarter, or three months to September.

"This is another set of impressively resilient and healthy labour market data which gives a lift to recovery hopes. Ongoing decent employment increases is supportive to consumer spending," said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer.

uk economy  |  unemployment
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