UK unemployment falls by 35,000
UK unemployment fell for the first time since last Spring, according to official figures.
The number of people unemployed fell by 35,000 to 2.65 million between December and February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
At the same time, the unemployment rate edged down from a 12-year high of 8.4% to 8.3%, the lowest it has been since last summer.
The number of unemployed 16 to 24 year olds also fell to 1.03 million.
Life in the economy
"The sighs of relief from 11 Downing Street were audible. After two months of flat unemployment, this is a clear sign of progress," says Katrina Collier, director of recruitment specialists Winning Impression.
"Modest and fragile progress it may be, but the creation of 35,000 new jobs hints that the economy is spluttering back into life."
However, the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increased for the 17th month in a row in March, up by 3,600 to 1.61 million.
Women are still being hit hard by public sector redundancies, with ONS figures showing that the number of unemployed women in the country rose by 8,000 in the final quarter of 2011 to 1.14 million – the highest figure for almost 25 years.