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Education and employment secretary Gillian Shephard today welcomed the largest fall in unemployment for 21 months....
Education and employment secretary Gillian Shephard today welcomed the largest fall in unemployment for 21 months.

The drop of 35,600 and the additional 200,000 jobs proved the success of the government's economic policies.

Mrs Shephard said:

'I am delighted with today's large fall in unemployment, down to 7.4% its lowest level for five and a half years.

'Unemployment is not just falling but falling faster. The Office for National Statistics estimates that the underlying downward trend has accelerated and is now averaging 15-20,000 a month. The trend is clear:

-- over the last 12 months monthly falls have averaged 16,900

-- over the last 6 months 18,900

-- over the last 3 months 25,700

'Over 200,000 more jobs have been created in the last year. Massive new investments mean that the good news on jobs continues. Such as:

-- 3,500 jobs secured at Ellesmere Port making Vauxhall's new Astra

-- the 3,000 extra staff at new Asda stores in Tamworth, Hull, Chatham, Skelmersdale, Cardiff and Falmouth

-- 12,000 new jobs making computer chips and tv components in Lucky Gold Star's £1.5bn electronic complex in Newport, South Wales

-- 2,000 new jobs as a result of Hyundai's £2.4bn investment in Dunfermline, one of the largest inward investment projects anywhere in Europe.'

Other figures also published today confirm the picture of widespread improvement in the labour market. Unemployment is down amongst both men and women in every region. The Labour Force Survey shows unemployment falling by 50,000 between the Spring and Summer Quarters, and over 200,000 new vacancies are being notified to Jobcentres every month.

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