'Claimant unemployment has fallen now by over 160,000 in the last year. Last month's fall reaffirms the well-established downward trend.
'New figures from the quarterly Labour Force Survey show a fall in unemployment, on the alternative ILO measure, of nearly 120,000 (seasonally adjusted) in the year to spring 1996. Long term unemployment has fallen faster than total unemployment over the year. Total employment has risen by 239,000 over the same period, confirming a broadly based improvement in the labour market.
'While the LFS figures show a small rise of 11,000 in ILO unemployment between the winter and spring quarters, and a fall of 34,000 in employment, a change from one quarter to the next should not be taken in isolation. The spring figures follow an exceptionally large fall in unemployment and rise in employment in the winter quarter. Taken together, the LFS figures over the past year are not inconsistent with the general downward trend of claimant unemployment.