Unemployment drops to 2.49 million, ONS figures reveal

New figures have revealed that unemployment in the three months to July dropped by about 24,000 to 2.49 million.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that the jobless rate fell to 7.7% from 7.8%. As a result of the figures, the pound reached a seven-month high against the dollar, with some experts casting doubt on Bank of England governor Mark Carney's 'forward guidance' policy of linking rate rises to unemployment.

Figures for the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - the so-called claimant count - dropped by 32,600 to 1.4 million last month. There was also a downwards revision to July's claimant count total and the combined 68,900 total fall for the two months was the biggest combined drop in 16 years.

The number of people in work reached 29.84 million in the three months to July, an increase of 80,000. The figure - which demonstrated a record high amid a growing population - showed that the economy is heading in the right direction, according to the Government.

However, workers continued to experience pay which is running behind inflation as there was only a 1.1% increase in average weekly earnings between May and July compared to a year earlier. This means wages continue to fall behind inflation, which currently stands at 2.8%.

Rises in unemployment were recorded in the north-east and north-west of England - up 5,000 and 13,000 respectively compared with the previous quarter. The north-east suffers from the worst jobless rate in the UK at a total of 10.4%,.

The biggest fall in unemployment happened in the south-east, where the jobless total fell by 29,000. London experienced a decline of 7,000.

The number of people working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job increased by 25,000 in the quarter to 1.45 million - the highest since records began in 1992. It has doubled over the past five years, the ONS said.

Copyright Press Association 2013