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UK unemployment falls by 2,000



UK unemployment fell to 1.69 million between January and March, official figures show, down 2,000 from the previous quarter.
The jobless rate remained at 5.1%, the Office for National Statistics said.
There were 31.58 million people in work, up 44,000 from the previous quarter, and the employment rate hit a record high of 74.2%.
Average earnings including bonuses rose 2% from a year earlier, up from 1.9% in the three months to February.
The ONS said the timing of bonuses this year had affected the rise in total earnings.
Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.1% year-on-year in the three months to March, down from 2.2% in the three months to February.
The number of job vacancies dropped by 18,000 to 745,000, the ONS added, marking the first fall for almost a year.
The number of people claiming jobless benefits fell by 2,400 in April to 737,800, although revised data showed the figure rose by 14,700 between February and March, the largest increase since autumn 2011.
David Freeman, a senior statistician at the ONS, said: "The employment rate has hit another record high, but this time the increase is quite modest.
"With unemployment very little changed, that is further evidence the jobs market could be cooling off."
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb, said: "These are another record-breaking set of figures, with more people in work than ever before and the unemployment rate is the lowest in a decade at 5.1%."