Jobs data boosted by Olympic Games

Banbury Cake: Unemployment fell by 7,000 between May and July Unemployment fell by 7,000 between May and July

The Olympics is thought to have helped drive a further fall in UK unemployment after another leap in the number of people in work, official figures showed.

The jobless total fell by 7,000 in the quarter to July to 2.59 million, an unemployment rate of 8.1%.

The Office for National Statistics said the number claiming jobseekers allowance last month was 1.57 million, down by 15,000 on July - the largest monthly fall since June 2010.

London accounted for 5,500 of the fall in the so-called claimant count, suggesting a jobs boost from the London Games.

The number of people in work increased by 236,000 to 29.6 million, which is the largest quarterly rise for two years. The ONS said the Games was likely to have been a driving factor behind the jump in employment, with London accounting for 91,000 of the rise.

Other figures revealed the number of part-time workers increased by 134,000 to reach 8.12 million - the highest since records began in 1992.

The number of Britons working part-time because they could not find a full-time job also hit a record high of 1.42 million. The ONS also revealed that public sector employment fell for the 11th quarter in a row, by 235,000 to 5.7 million.

While the fall in the headline rate of unemployment was lower than many economists were expecting, the drop in the claimant count was far higher than forecast.

The figures also showed the number of people out of work for over a year was the highest for more than 16 years - at 904,000, up 22,000 on the previous quarter. Those classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a sick relative, on early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 181,000 to nine million.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the Government needed a long term plan of job creation to ease the UK's economic woes. He said: "For families suffering the misery of unemployment, any decrease will be welcome news, but it is clear when you look at the bigger economic picture that any talk of growth is premature."

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