Employment at highest rate since 1971

Employment is at a record high, figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

Some 71% of people are in employment, the highest rate since records began in 1971.

Almost 30 million adults were in work in the quarter to November 2012, up by more than 500,000 on the previous year.

Unemployment fell by 37,000 to just under 2.5 million during the three-month period, the lowest amount since spring 2011.

There was also a reduction in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - down 12,100 last month to 1.56 million. That figure is the lowest for over a year and a half.

There were further positive figures in the shape of a reduction - by 13,000 to just over nine million - in the number of people classed as economically inactive. These people include those looking after a relative or those who have given up looking for work.

Part-time employment fell by 23,000, but this was offset by a 113,000 increase in the number employed full-time in the three months to November.

The data also pointed to changes in the benefits system for the reason why there was a 26,000 increase in the number of women out of work for up to six months. The total now stands at 571,000 as more single mothers look for work.

There are now 4.2 million self employed workers in the UK - an increase of 7,000 - while unpaid family workers fell by 1,000 to 111,000.

The number of people out of work for more than two years was down 10,000 to 434,000 while those without a job for at least a year now number 892,000 - a fall of 5,000.

But there was bad news in the figures for young people, with an increase in the number of unemployed 16 to 24 year-olds by 1,000 to 957,000.

Average earnings increased by 1.5% in the year to November, down by 0.3% on the previous month's statistic.

Copyright Press Association 2013