More than 2.51 million people were unemployed in the UK between February and April 2013, down 5,000 from the previous three month period.
Today’s figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show no change in unemployment rates, with 7.8% of the economically active population out of work – a decrease of 88,000 compared to the same period last year.
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services, KPMG Management Consulting, said: “Optimism gradually seems to be emerging from pockets of the business community and is perhaps best expressed in the latest official employment figures.
“We may still be facing a tough economic climate but, by stepping up their recruitment programmes, organisations up and down the country are giving the clearest indication yet that they are confident about their long-term future.”
With a sharp rise in April bonus payments, average earnings rose 1.3% on 2012 figures. With companies paying out bonuses a month later than in 2012, April’s average earnings rose 3.3%.
However, the rise in earnings was still below inflation levels, with consumer prices up 2.4% in the year to April. Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by just 0.9% from a year earlier.
The number of job vacancies within the UK continued to rise to reach 516,000 for March to May 2013, the highest since October to December 2008.
There were 8.99m economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, up 40,000 on the previous quarter, but down 199,000 on the previous year.
The ONS figures also showed that just over a million people over the age of 65 are in work, the highest since records began in 1971.
Almost one in 10 people in the age group are working – 615,000 men and 388,000 women.