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Unemployment rate drops to lowest figure since 2008

16 Oct 2015

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the UK unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in over seven years, while the percentage of people in work is the highest since records began.

In the three months to August unemployment fell to 5.4%, which is the lowest rate since the second quarter of 2008.  The ONS statistics show that there were 1.77 million people out of work between June and August, a drop of 79,000 on the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the number of people in work rose by 140,000 to 31.1 million - giving an employment rate of 73.6%, the highest figure since records began in 1971.

Although the number of part-time workers rose by 68,000 to 8.35 million, the amount of people in full-time employment also rose significantly: up by 291,000 to 22.77 million.

Earnings also rose in the period, but by less than expected. Workers’ total earnings - including bonuses - were up 3% on the previous year, while growth in average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, compared to the same period in 2014 was 2.8%.

Matthew Fell of the Confederation of British Industry said: ‘We’re encouraged by businesses creating more jobs, leading to rising employment. It’s also good to see falling unemployment, particularly among those out of work for more than one year dropping by 44,000.

‘While we want to see higher pay growth, this must go hand in hand with increases in productivity. It’s crucial that the Low Pay Commission retains autonomy over future National Living Wage rises to avoid unnecessary political interference and help boost jobs’.