Unemployment levels in the UK have dropped by 45,000 in the three months to March to 2.63 million, according to official figures.
Unemployment rates have also fallen to 8.2%, along with Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, which also fell to 1.59 million in April.
The figures have been welcomed by the Employment Minister Chris Grayling, who described them as a “welcome step in the right direction”.
Commenting on the announcement, Bernard Brown, partner and head of Business Services at KPMG said: “It’s great news that unemployment is continuing to fall and the hope must be that, with last month’s figures still fresh in the memory, we are beginning to see a trend moving in the right direction.
“However, we should be cautious about blowing the dust off celebratory bunting just yet because, even for those who have found full-time employment, earning power for new starters remains well below pre-recession heights.”
However, he expressed concerns over the fact that employment figures amongst the young are so high, and called on the Government to tackle the issue.
He added: “If we fail to do so, the cost of supporting people as they look for work, coupled with the frustrations of a generation lost to the workforce, will mean that the UK’s economy will stagnate for a long time after today’s figures are forgotten.”
Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership, commented: “This is encouraging news, as it seems to confirm a continued upward trend in employment.
“Previous indicators had been that hiring intentions were stronger than they had been for some time in the finance and insurance sectors, and increasing numbers of businesses were complaining about skills gaps, so this should mean more opportunities for jobseekers. However it is still early days, and we shall have to await the longer term trends.
“In the meantime there are still many talented and enthusiastic young people seeking employment in today’s competitive jobs market, and many may need help in researching careers and honing their job seeking strategy, in particular equipping themselves with the right kinds of skills and connecting with employers.
“The Financial Skills Partnership’s online careers portal Directions is a good place to start researching careers profiles and connecting with employers.
“Additionally, the new Graduate Foundation College offers a fast-track to employability in the finance sector to unemployed graduates, through its short tailored pre-employment training programme.”