UK Unemployment Drops as Economy Strengthens

UK Unemployment Drops as Economy Strengthens

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen to 6.6 percent in the three months ending in April as the economy continues to strengthen.

The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday the drop was sharp — from 7.2 percent in the three-month period ending in January. Some 72.9 percent of the population aged 16 to 64 was working, still just slightly less than before the 2008-2009 economic downturn brought on by the global financial crisis.

There were 780,000 more people working than a year earlier.

Economist Samuel Tombs of Capital Economics says the figures theoretically bring the prospect of a rate rise by the Bank of England closer, since unemployment is below the Monetary Policy Committee’s forecast of 6.7 percent.

But he says there’s still “considerable slack” in the market.