Employment levels reach record high

More people than ever before are in employment, official data shows.

But although one record of 30 million in employment has been met, a second record for the number of people in part-time work has been recorded.

A total of 1.46 million people are working part-time - the highest level since records began in 1992 - because they could not find full-time positions, the Office for National Statistics data showed.

Meanwhile, the total employment level - at its highest in more than 40 years - was boosted by 177,000 people who found work in the third quarter of the year.

Unemployment dropped by 48,000 to 2.47 million, another record low since spring 2011, while jobseeker's allowance claims have been declining for the past year, now standing at 1.31 million.

The economically inactive, including those looking after a ill family member, or people who have given up looking for work, also fell by 69,000 to 8.92 million.

A breakdown of the figures comparing males and females shows almost a third of men are in part-time work, while 13% of women work a shorter week.

The number working full-time increased across both sexes, however there was a 22,000 fall in women in part-time jobs.

The long-term unemployed - out of work for more than a year - also dropped by 19,000 to total 890,000.

Youth unemployment now stands at 950,000 in the 16 to 24 year-old category, giving an overall youth jobless rate of 21%.

In the year to September, average earnings increased by 0.7%, slightly down on the August figure, and despite a 0.8% rise in pay, excluding bonuses, the figure is at its joint lowest since recordings began more than 10 years ago.

The UK can be buoyed by a better performance than Europe, with the home unemployment rate of 7.6% below the EU's average of 11%.

Greece comes out worst with a 27.6% unemployment rate followed by Spain at 26.6%, while Austria and Germany top the league with 4.9% and 5.2% respectively.

Copyright Press Association 2013