By Daniel Hunter

Employment Minister Mark Hoban has welcomed another fall in unemployment as figures showed private sector employment has risen by more than one million since May 2010.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the number of people in employment rose by 236,000 in the three months from May to July compared to the previous quarter — including 100,000 more people in full-time posts. Unemployment fell by 7,000 during the same period.

The number of people in private sector employment rose by 275,000 in the last quarter and is now nearly 1.2 million higher than in May 2010. The quarterly increase more than offset a 39,000 fall in public sector employment. These figures are adjusted for the effect of further education colleges being reclassified by the ONS from the public to the private sector.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance was down 15,000 to 1.57m in August - despite policy changes, including the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants and rules on lone parents claiming income support, meaning more non-working people are transferring to Jobseekers Allowance from other benefits. The total number of people claiming the main out of work benefits is now 140,000 lower than in May 2010.

The number of 18 to 24 year olds in employment also rose by 58,000, and the number of young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell by 10,900 in August. However, there was a slight rise in unemployment among this age group of 7,000. Excluding full-time students, there are 716,000 16 to 24 year olds who are unemployed.

Of the increase in employment of 236,000, there was a rise of 91,000 in London, accompanied by a 22,000 fall in unemployment, suggesting the Olympics may have added to the boost. But the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell in every English region as well as Wales and Scotland, and employment rose in all but two regions.

The UK unemployment rate of 8.1% is considerably lower than the Eurozone average of 11.3%, European Union average of 10.4% and lower than France (10.3%) and Spain (25.1%).

“British businesses deserve great credit for continuing to create jobs even in these tough economic times, and now we have one million more people working in the private sector than in May 2010," Mark Hoban said.

“With 140,000 fewer people on the main out of work benefits, there are also real signs that our welfare reforms are working.

“The fall in unemployment is further welcome news but we know there are still challenges ahead. We will continue to work hard to create the conditions for businesses to grow and provide people with the support they need to get back into work.”

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