The number of people in the UK without a job fell at the fastest pace in nearly a year between January and March.
The total of unemployed Britons fell by 45,000 to just over 2.6 million raising hopes of some underlying resilience in the economy.
The jobless rate inched down to 8.2 percent of the workforce.
Unemployment among the young – 16 to 24-year-olds – also dipped slightly to just over one million, but remains at almost 22 percent.
The number of people claiming jobless benefit unexpectedly fell last month by 13,700 – the largest drop since July 2010. Analysts had forecast an increase of 5,000 on the month.
In addition, the March figure was revised to show a drop of 5,400 in claimants from an initially reported rise of 3,600.
Britain slipped back into recession at the beginning of 2012.
That stoked fears that more Britons will become unemployed at a time when the government is relying on private firms to make up for the estimated 700,000 jobs it is shedding in the public sector as part of its austerity plan.
British employers do plan to increase staffing for the first time in a year, according to a survey published recently by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
However, the CIPD warned that a “zigzagging economic backdrop” could make it hard to sustain any short-term recovery in the labour market.