UK employment total hits 'record high'

A record 29.7 million people are in work in the UK, according to the latest official figures.

An additional 24,000 people have found work in recent months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

The data also showed unemployment fell by 5,000 to 2.5 million and there was a decline of 8,600 to 1.5 million in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance.

There was also encouraging news for those on the lookout for jobs later in their career, with a record one million people aged over 65 now in employment.

Almost one in 10 over-65s - 615,000 men and 388,000 women - are now working, according to the figures.

There was a fall of 22,000 in public sector employment to just short of 5.7 million, though on a positive note there was an increase in private sector employment of 46,000 to 24 million.

Jobs in local government fell by 26,000 since the end of last year to reach a total of under 2.5 million.

The fall in unemployment in the three months to April was entirely due to men finding jobs, while the number of women not in employment went up by 7,000 to 1.09 million.

There was also a rise of 11,000 in long-term unemployment, which reached almost 900,000, but youth unemployment fell by 43,000 to 950,000.

The new figures mean that the UK's employment rate is now 71.5%, with 7.8% of the population out of work.

There have also been seven consecutive monthly falls in the so-called claimant count, which has dropped to its lowest total since May 2011.

The ONS data also showed that there was a 1.3% rise in total pay in the 12 months to April, with average total pay now standing at 484 a week or 447 without bonuses.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said the record jobs figures are down to the growth of businesses all around the country.

"Today's figures show we have more people in work than ever before, more women in work than ever before and more hours worked in the economy than ever before," he added.

Copyright Press Association 2013