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UK unemployment levels drop

Unemployment falls by 26,000, but rate of decrease slows and claimant numbers simultaneously increas

Official figures indicate that overall unemployment levels in the UK fell by 26,000 over the last three months.

This puts the current overall unemployment rate at 7.7%, down from 7.8% in the previous quarter. In recent months, unemployment has been falling at its fastest rate in a decade, something Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne might well use to justify the government's fiscal policy.

However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published today also demonstrate that the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose in the previous month by 24,500. The apparent contradiction between the two sets of figures has in part been put down to the fact that changes in the benefits system has led to an increase in women claiming unemployment benefits.

Tess Riley is a freelance journalist and social justice campaigner. She also works, part time, for Streetbank, and can be found on Twitter at @tess_riley