Employment Figures Growing
UK unemployment fell 88,000 in the three months to April this year to 2.43 million, the biggest drop since the summer of 2000, latest data shows.
The unemployment rate was 7.7%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), down from 7.9% in the previous quarter.
However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in May rose by 19,600 to 1.49 million.
The rise was the biggest since July 2009, and larger than expected.
"The economy created more than half a million jobs over the last year," said BBC chief economics correspondent Hugh Pym.
"So even after the public sector shed just over 140,000 posts, total employment was still well ahead over twelve months."
The official unemployment figure - which is based on a survey - has been falling in recent months.
In contrast, the claimant count - which has now risen for the third month in a row - has been telling a much more downbeat story about the state of the jobs market.
However, analysts caution that some of the rise in the claimant count may be attributable to changes in benefits rules, which have seen many people move off other kinds of benefits onto the Jobseeker's Allowance.
The number of people who left unemployment during the quarter was almost matched by the number who entered new jobs, according to the latest ONS survey data.
The employment total increased by 80,000 to 29.24 million.
Employment minister Chris Grayling hailed the data as "very encouraging", and told the BBC that it showed the private sector was creating jobs much faster than the public sector was losing them.
“All this can only be good news for the building trade” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.