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Unemployment drops by 57,000, ONS job figures show

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The number of people unemployed fell by 57,000, in the three months to the end of May, figures published today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

The total number of people unemployed was 2.51 million, this is down 57,000 from December 2012 to February 2013 and down 72,000 from a year earlier.

Youth unemployment fell by 20,000 to 959,000, giving a jobless rate for 16 to 24-year-olds of 20.9%.

Average earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to May, up by 0.2% on the previous month, giving an average weekly wage of £476.

Full-time employment increased by 28,000 to 21.6 million, but the number of part-time workers fell by 12,000 to 8.04 million.

Richard Smith, group managing director at job site Reed, told HR magazine he expects to the drop in unemployment to continue over the next few months.

"I think confidence is starting to return to the jobs market and I think this is down to workers feeling more satisfied in their role," said Smith.

"The main reason for this could be put down to workers feeling an increase in job security."

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG said the continued fall in employment comes as little surprise, but argues that questions remain over the younger generation.

"After the IMF predicted better than expected growth figures for the UK and data was published suggesting the services sector will spearhead economic revival, the latest official employment figures suggest that British business is beginning to bask in the sunshine," said Brown.

"It is, of course, too early to suggest that we are on an upward trajectory but the rising staff placements and employers' increased thirst for staff is a reflection that confidence about long-term prospects is returning."