The number of people in employment has passed the 29 million mark for the first time in the UK’s history.
But this week’s employment figures from the Office for National Statistics also shows an increase in the number of unemployed: to 5.5 per cent, an increase of 0.1 per cent in the period June to August and an increase of 0.8 per cent over the year. The number of unemployed now stands at 1.7 million.
The average number of job vacancies during the quarter was 608,100, up by 9,700 on the previous quarter but down 4,400 over the year. The sector showing the largest increase over the quarter was finance and business services.
Jim Murphy, minister for employment and welfare reform, said:
“The number of people in work is up and is now above 29 million for the first time. The UK continues to have the best performing labour market of the major world economies.
“Our welfare reforms are delivering results but we have to go further still. After two months of falling claimant count this month’s rise means we have to do more to support people out of work to take up the 608,000 vacancies in the economy.”
Although the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has risen, the number of people claiming other benefits, such as incapacity benefit, has fallen by 64,000 in the last quarter and 276,000 over the year.
With more people in employment than ever before, the total number of hours worked per week now stands at 929.8 million, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.