Ministers welcome record number of people in jobs, alongside dip in unemployment

The number of people in jobs has hit a record high of nearly 30 million, according to new Government figures.

This follows a fresh fall in unemployment. Just under 2.5 million people were jobless in the quarter to August.

This is a drop of 18,000 on the previous three months, while statistics also revealed the sharpest monthly dip in jobseeker's allowance claimants for 16 years.

The so-called claimant count has now been slashed for 11 successive months after September's drop of 41,700 to 1.35 million.

Employment jumped by 155,000 to 29.87 million, the largest historic total, bringing the percentage of people in jobs to over seven in 10 (71.7%).

Those classed as economically inactive also slumped, by 83,000 to 8.95 million, the data found.

Employment vacancies increased by 6,000 during the three months to August, to 541,000, the highest total since 2008.

But the figures from the Office for National Statistics also revealed that 1.45 million people were working part-time because they were unable to get full-time jobs. This is the biggest figure since records started in 1992.

Average earnings growth was pegged back from 1.2% to 0.7% for the year to August, compared to the previous month.

Typical weekly earnings in private companies rose by 1.1%. But the yearly growth rate in the public sector dropped to minus 0.5%, the lowest rate since 2001.

This statistic is being attributed to fewer workers being on high pay and more staff finding themselves on lower pay in the state sector.

The new data revealed a 69,000 rise in male full-time employment and a 21,000 hike in part-time employment.

The amount of female part-time workers dropped by 13,000, in contrast to a 79,000 jump in full-time female employment.

The statistics revealed a fall in joblessness among the young. There were 958,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year-olds in the last quarter, down by 1,000 over the three months.

Over 1.1 million people have been unemployed for a maximum of six months, a drop of 32,000.

But the number of people out of work for between six and 12 months increased by 29,000, to 446,000.

Copyright Press Association 2013