• In the three months to June 2013, unemployment fell by 4,000, and employment rose by 69,000, compared with the previous quarter
• Long term unemployment is up, with further increases in the number of those unemployed for more than one year and two years
• Youth unemployment has risen by 15,000 in the three months to June, and now stands at 973,000
• In July 2013 the claimant count fell by 29,200, compared with June
Commenting on the labour market figures for August 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“Despite some concerns, such as higher youth and long-term unemployment, the overall picture is one of a slowly improving labour market. Employment is up, unemployment is down, and there was a significant fall in the number of those claiming benefits. The unemployment rate of 7.8% is still a long way from the 7% figure at which the MPC may consider increasing interest rates. The level of inactivity has fallen and people are starting to return to the workforce. But firms are now under increased pressure to create jobs – otherwise those returning will find themselves unemployed.
“At a time when the government’s austerity plan remains in force and the public sector is shrinking, we are pleased to see the private sector is determined and able to create jobs. But it needs more support to sustain this, through increasing the flow of credit to viable businesses, a continued focus on keeping inflation low, and to reverse the large fall in investment in the UK that we have seen in recent years.”

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in July fell more sharply, down by 29,000 to 1.4 million.

The unemployment rate remains at 7.8%, still well above the 7% rate target set by the Bank of England.

The Bank's governor, Mark Carney, says interest rates are unlikely to rise before that target is reached.

The ONS said the figures meant unemployment was "broadly unchanged" from the first three months of the year.

The number of people in work increased by 69,000 in the three months to June, up to 29.78 million. That is the highest level since records began in 1971.

That means 307,000 more people are in employment in the UK, compared with the same time last year.

The ONS's David Freeman said two-thirds of this increase had been seen in UK nationals. A third of the employment increase came from non-UK nationals working in the UK.
Mixed picture

Analysts said the figures portrayed a mixed picture of the UK jobs market.

"Despite some good news in the latest jobs figures there are worrying signs about the underlying state of the UK jobs market," said John Philpott, from the think tank, The Jobs Economist.

"The rise in employment is almost matched by an increase in the size of the workforce, which means the unemployment rate is unchanged at 7.8%.

"The headline jobs figures may continue to be broadly positive but one only has to dig a little deeper into the statistics to see that millions of people are continuing to be hit by a combination of lack of jobs and a ceaseless sharp fall in the real value of their pay."

Youth unemployment, among those aged 16-24, increased by 15,000 to reach 973,000.

The number of people out of work for more than two years also rose by 10,000 to 474,000, the highest number in 16 years.

The ONS also released figures showing that wages grew by 1.1% over the past 12 months. When bonuses were included, wages grew by 2.1% - the highest annual growth rate since June 2011.

The small fall in unemployment comes a week after Mr Carney linked the Bank of England's interest rate policy decisions to the unemployment rate for the first time.

He said the MPC will not consider raising interest rates until the unemployment rate falls below 7%, which he predicted would take about three years and the creation of 750,000 jobs.