PRICES were higher at midday yesterday as investors digested a favourable reading on Britain's unemployment front. London's blue-chip Financial Times 100-stock index, which slipped 13.3 points on Tuesday, was ahead 9.1 points to 3,200. Volume amounted to around 205 million shares. Analysts said stocks were lifted by a new government report showing a drop in the jobless total in March. The number of unemployed in Britain fell by a seasonally adjusted 20,500 to 2,346,000 in March, compared with 2,366,700 the previous month and 2.72 million a year ago, the government said. The slightly lower-than-expected fall brought the jobless rate down to a provisional 8.4 per cent in March from 8.5 per cent in February. Among the most widely traded stocks, leisure group Forte fell eight US cents to $3.76 after comments that British consumer demand is not buoyant. Building materials group RMC is also cautious on Britain.