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JSA claimant numbers fall in July – ONS

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is at its lowest level since 2009, new statistics from the ONS show. Between January-March and April-June this year the claimant count for JSA fell by 29,200 and total unemployment fell by 4,000.

The figures have boosted confidence that the forecast for the economy is looking up.

Mark Hoban, the minister for employment, said: “There are now more jobs available than at any time since the end of 2008, and more hours being worked than ever before – which shows that there are opportunities out there for people who want to work and get on in life.”

But economists warned of a rise in youth unemployment and for those who had been out of work in the long-term.

Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD, said: “Today’s figures are modest good news for the labour market with increased employment and a small reduction in the headline measure of unemployment.

“The extent to which further economic growth will be possible without triggering a rise in interest rates will depend on how successful the economy is at getting young people and the long-term unemployed into work. If this does not happen, we could see competition for the right people pushing wages and costs up while unemployment remains high.”

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work rose by 15,000 to 973,000 and people unemployed for over a year increased by 7,000 to 909,000. Beatson called it “crunch time” for many.

And Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “These figures show that it's boom time again for the super-rich, while the dole queues are getting longer for young people. The bounce in bonus-led pay rises shows that the super-rich have taken full advantage of the chancellor's telegraphed tax cut. This is a recovery for the top 1%, while the living standards crisis continues for everyone else.”

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