By Marcus Leach

A further sign that the economy is continuing to recover was confirmed on Wednesday as official figures showed that unemployment dropped by 35,000.

This represents the first fall in figures since Spring 2011, as the total number came down to 2.65 million over the December-to-February period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Having been sat at a 12-year high of 8.4% the new level of 8.3% is the lowest it has been at since last summer.

There was good news for the youth unemployment (16-24 year-olds) sector as well, the figure there dropping down to 1.03 million.

"This morning’s UK claimant count figure is excellent news and suggests unemployment may have reached its peak, though progress will undoubtedly be slow," Richard Driver, analyst for Caxton FX, said.

"Wage growth remains a major concern however and with inflation rising last month, UK households will have to keep a close eye on their finances.

"The employment numbers add to the generally more positive picture of the UK economy that has emerged this month. However, the market will want further evidence that improvements can be sustained and that this isn’t a flash in the pan."

Nick Palmer from the ONS told BBC News said that the figures could be slightly misleading, and that unemployment was still high.

"If you look at the longer-term picture, unemployment rose quite strongly during the summer of last year, then the increases tailed off a bit towards the end of the year," he said.

"So despite this latest decrease, the level of unemployment is significantly higher than it was a year ago, in fact it is some 170,000 higher than it was at the same point a year ago."

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