According to official data from the Office for National Statistics published yesterday (January 23rd), the level of unemployment in the UK has fallen to 2.49 million, its lowest level for 18 months.
In addition, the number of people in work has reached another record high, climbing to 29.7 million, giving an employment rate of 71 per cent, which is the highest since records began in 1971.
The figures reveal that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 per cent in the three months to November, down from 7.8 per cent in the previous quarter, while the number of people employed full time rose by 113,000, offsetting a fall in part-time employment of 23,000 and the number claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell to 1.56 million in December, which is the lowest since June 2011.
The fall in unemployment was the 10th consecutive drop in numbers and was echoed by the number of people classed as economically inactive, such as those no longer looking for a job, which fell by 13,000 to just over nine million.
However, the data also showed a 26,000 increase in the number of women out of work for up to six months, to reach 571,000, which may reflect changes to the benefits system resulting in more single mothers looking for work.
In addition, the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds fell 90,000 to 625,000, excluding people in full-time education.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban pointed out that the UK employment rate was growing at almost double the rate of the US, and faster than any other G7 country.
He said that the positive figures show employment rising for 15 months despite difficult economic circumstances, but stressed that the Government is not complacent and will continue to give jobseekers the support and training they need to achieve their goal of returning to work.