Latest findings from the Office of National Statistics show that record numbers of people were in work from the three months from October to December 2007.
The 29.4 million with jobs is the highest figure since comparable records began in 1971, up 175,000 over the quarter and 296,000 over the year.
The jobless count has also fallen, reaching 1.61 million. In further good news, numbers claiming Jobseeker’s allowance is down. The claimant count was 794,600 in January 2008, down 10,800 over the previous month and down 128,500 over the year. This is the lowest figure since June 1975.
The job vacancy listings continue to swell with 677,400 job vacancies being recorded for the three months to January 2008, up 7,300 over the previous quarter and up 72,000 over the year.
Commenting on the numbers, John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said the buoyant figures represented a conundrum:
“Taken at face value, the ONS figures suggest that most new jobs at present are going to people aged 50 and over – this age cohort accounts for almost six in 10 of the additional people in work last year. But this sits oddly with the observation that most new jobs are being taken by migrant workers – a group overwhelmingly aged under 40.”
According to Philpott, the CIPD believe the ‘conundrum’ is explained by the fact that migrant workers are taking the lion’s share of new job vacancies, while older workers are instead better able than in the past to hold onto their jobs.