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UK jobless rate inches down

UK jobless rate inches down
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Britain’s unemployment rate fell slightly in the three months up to February to 8.3 percent of the workforce, bringing it down below a 16-year high.

The number of people out of work decreased by 35,000 to 2.65 million.

The politically sensitive total of young people (16- to 24-year-olds) without a job fell to 1.033 million but still 22.2 percent of them are unemployed.

The British Conservative Lib-Dem coalition government has been relying on private firms to create enough employment to make up for the estimated 700,000 jobs it is cutting in the public sector.

The layoffs are part of its austerity programme, aimed at erasing the country’s massive budget deficit over the next five years.

There have been signs of easier times ahead for job seekers.

A survey by an organisation called the Recruitment and Employment Confederation showed last week that the number of vacancies in Britain rose in March at the fastest pace since last July.

However, the UK labour market remains vulnerable as the economy struggles through a period of patchy recovery.