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UK jobless falls further toward Bank threshold

LONDON — Official figures show that unemployment in Britain fell by 24,000 people between May and July to 2.49 million, raising hopes that the recovery in Europe’s third-largest economy is gathering speed.

The Office for National Statistics also said Wednesday that the country’s unemployment rate declined to 7.7 percent from 7.8 percent.

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The unemployment rate is being closely watched by the Bank of England and its new governor, Mark Carney. Last month, the bank issued a so-called forward guidance that it won’t consider altering its loose monetary policy until unemployment hits 7 percent.

Bank officials had said it would probably take three years for unemployment to reach that level, but Wednesday’s figures suggest that may happen sooner.

The official figures also showed that the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell in August by 32,600 to 1.4 million.

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