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The BBC's Jenny Scott
"Britain is bearing up well despite the global slowdown"
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Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
UK jobless figures stay below 1m
Graph illustrating the sliding unemployment figures in the UK
The number of UK people claiming unemployment benefit fell by 10,200 in April to 975,800, official figures from National Statistics showed.

That is a jobless rate of 3.2%, the lowest level since August 1975.

The fall was much greater than expected, with analysts having predicted a fall of 5,000 for April following a fall of 5,500 in March.

Meanwhile, the number of people in employment rose by 100,000 during the first quarter of the year to 28.1 million people, official figures showed.

The figure, which represents an increase of 268,000 jobs over the year, is the highest since records began in 1984.

The data will be seen as welcome reinforcement of the government's economic credentials during the run-up to the general election on 7 June.

Below one million

In March, unemployment in the United Kingdom officially fell below one million to 995,200, its lowest in 25 years.

Originally, figures had shown that unemployment fell below one million in February. Later, revised figures revealed that the one million mark was actually breached in March.

Unemployment has now stayed below one million for two months.

Speaking during the middle of March, Prime Minister Tony Blair said that "full employment is within our grasp for the first time in a generation".

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16 May 01 | Business
UK inflation to remain low into 2002
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