Unemployment has fallen below 2.5 million and is now lower than in Spring 2010, according to official figures released yesterday.
There were falls in the number of unemployed young people as well as a fall in long-term unemployment, while the number of people in work rose by 90,000 and remains at a record level, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The number of people unemployed for more than six months fell by 46,000 compared to the previous quarter, including a 5,000 drop in the number of people unemployed for more than a year.
Numbers of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell again, and excluding students the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds is 92,000 lower than this time last year.
Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, welcomed the statistics which show the number of people in work has now been rising for over a year. The UK employment rate is growing at almost double the rate of the US, and faster than any other G7 country.
Mr Hoban said:
"These are very positive figures showing employment rising for over a year and despite difficult economic circumstances unemployment is lower than when this government took office.
"It's good to see long-term unemployment falling and the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance dropping again, while the increase in vacancies shows there are jobs out there.
"But we are not complacent, and will continue making sure we give jobseekers the support and training they need to achieve their goal of returning to work."
Yesterday's figures show:
- Unemployment fell by 37,000 over the past quarter, and 185,000 over the past year. It now stands at 2.49m.
- The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 12,100 in the last month, to 1.56m.
- Employment rose by 90,000 on the quarter and is at the highest level on record. Employment has risen for five consecutive quarters – over a year.
- Women’s employment, at 13.75 million, is at the highest level it has ever been and the rate is the highest it’s been since early 2009.
- There are 113,000 more people in full-time work over the quarter, outstripping the 23,000 fall in part-time employment.
- Excluding full-time students, the number of young people (16-24) in work rose by 58,000 this quarter.
- Long-term unemployment appears to be stabilising, with the number of people out of work for more than 12 months down by 5,000.
- The number of people on the main out of work benefits fell by 222,000 since May 2010.
- The number of 18-24s on Jobseeker’s Allowance is 62,400 fewer than a year ago.
- Our unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent is better than the US (7.8), France (10.5), Italy (11.1), and Spain (26.6), as well as significantly below the Eurozone average (11.8).
Background to labour market statistics: January 2013
This month's Labour Force Survey covers September to November 2012. The claimant count is for December 2012 and the vacancy count for October to December 2012.
The number of people in work rose this quarter and is a record high
- 29.68 million people were in work in September to November 2012.
- The employment level rose 90 thousand on the previous quarter and 552 thousand on the year
- The employment rate is 71.4%, up 0.1 points on the quarter and up 1.1 points on the year.
ILO unemployment fell this quarter
- 2.49 million people were ILO unemployed in the September to November 2012 quarter, down 37 thousand on the previous quarter and 185 thousand on the year.
- The ILO unemployment rate is 7.7%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and down 0.7 points on the year.
The level of economic inactivity is down on the quarter and on the year
- The economic inactivity level is 9.03 million in the September to November 2012 quarter, down 13 thousand on the previous quarter and 253 thousand on the year.
- The economic inactivity rate is 22.5%, unchanged on the quarter and down 0.7 points on the year.
- Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 16.9%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and down 0.5 points on the year.
The number of people on JSA fell this month, and the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is also improving
- Claimant unemployment was 1,557 thousand in December 2012, down 12.1 thousand on the month and down 40.5 thousand on the year.
- The claimant count rate is 4.8%, unchanged on the month and down 0.1 points on the year.
- The figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including reforms to eligibility for lone parent benefits and re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits. Both are likely to have added to the JSA caseload between November and December
- In the year to February 2012, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 21,000 to 2.56 million. The most recent provisional figure for November 2012 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.485 million.
- In the year to February 2012, the number of lone parents on income support fell 30,000 to 584,000. The provisional figure for November 2012 is 510,000, suggesting that the level is trending downwards.
Unfilled vacancies rose on the quarter, but redundancies also picked up slightly
- There were 158 thousand redundancies in September to November 2012, up 27 thousand on the previous quarter but down 6 thousand on the year.
- ONS' vacancy survey estimates an average of 494 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to December 2012, up 14 thousand on the previous quarter and 33 thousand on the year.
Total weekly pay in November 2012 was up by 1.5% over the year
- Growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up by 1.4% on the year