LONDON — Unemployment eased to 7.9 per cent in Britain in the three months through April, as the number of people finding part-time work outstripped the number of those losing full-time jobs, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday.
The improvement, however, is likely to be temporary as the government moves to squeeze spending to cut a record deficit.
The figure was down from the 8 per cent rate for the January-March period, but well above the 7.3 per cent rate a year earlier.
The agency said 5,000 people had found jobs since the previous quarter, raising the total number in work to nearly 28.9 million. The number of full-time workers fell by 56,000 while part-time employees increased by 61,000.
The number of people estimated to be out of work was 2.47 million.
In a separate report, the ONS said public sector employment fell by 7,000 in the first quarter to a total of nearly 6.1 million, or 28,000 more than in the first quarter of 2009.
“It won’t be long before the looming public sector job cuts start,” said Vicky Redwood, economist at Capital Economics.
“With private sector hiring likely to stay weak, we still think that unemployment has significantly further to rise, perhaps all the way to 3 million over the next two or three years.”