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Latest ONS unemployment figures show a drop of 20,000

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The number of people unemployed in the UK fell by 20,000 to 2.45 million in the three months prior to August, according to the latest findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The overall UK unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.8% but the figures also showed the claimant count – those out of work and receiving unemployment benefit – rose by 5,300 in September to 1.47 million.

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "These figures are slightly better than expected. Employment is up, unemployment is down, and there has been a further fall in the level of inactivity. However, there are also some negative features. The recent increases in total employment were mainly driven by part-time workers, whose number has increased to its highest level since records began in 1992. Furthermore, the number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job is also at a record high.
 
"While recent labour market trends are welcome, we have not yet seen the negative impact on jobs that will result from the tough but necessary deficit-cutting measures that will be implemented over the next few years.
 
"On the basis of these figures we reiterate the BCC’s forecast that UK unemployment is likely to record a further net increase of some 200,000 over the next 18 months, reaching a peak of around 2.65 million in the first half of 2012."