July 18 - The total number of Britons without a job dropped in the March to May period as the Olympics in London created extra work, data showed, providing a rare bit of positive news from the recession-hit UK economy. Ciara Sutton reports.
The number of unemployed in the UK has hit a nine-month low thanks to extra jobs created by the Olympics. The labour market proved resilient between March and May as Prime Minister David Cameron continued to slash state jobs in his attempts to lift the economy out of recession. But the number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose slightly more than forecast in June with the Office for National Statistics blaming a change in benefit rules. Economist Tobias Blattner, from Daiwa Capital Markets says the Games' boost is likely to be short-lived. (SOUNDBITE) ECONOMIST TOBIAS BLATTNER, DAIWA CAPITAL MARKETS, SAYING: "With the problems in the euro area, the UK's most traditional and important trading partner, still continuing I think for at least another year. I think there is a very high risk that the unemployment rate in the UK is likely to rise again in the future." The British government has been relying on private firms to create enough jobs to make up for around 700,000 jobs being cut in the public sector. And the IMF says the UK's growth prospects for the next two years have worsened more than those of any other big economy over the past three months. Ciara Sutton, Reuters