UK unemployment plummets to pre-recession levels as women in work reaches record high

The UK employment rate has hit record highs while unemployment has plummeted to pre-recession levels - the lowest for nearly a decade.

Figures released today reveal that there are 31.4 million people (74%) in work – up 588,000 (1.1%) in the past year and by 2.3 million since 2010.

Unemployment now runs at 1.68 million (5.1%) – down by 239,000 within a year and by 835,000 since 2010.

Wages have also risen by 2% in the last year alone, while inflation has remained flat.

The number of women in work is also at a record high – up by 1 million since 2010 to 14.66 million, while the proportion of young people who have left full-time education and are unemployed is down to a record low of 14.1%.

Scott Mann said:

“Year on year the UK continues to create jobs, and it’s thanks to the initiatives and tax breaks from the government along with the hard-working ethos of the British people that we’re able to see more people in work, more young people in apprenticeships, and less people relying on benefits.

“And we’re not stopping there. In April, all those over 25 on the minimum wage will receive an automatic 7.5% pay rise to £7.20/hr, and families will benefit from a doubling of free childcare to 30hrs/wk." 

The Prime Minister also welcomed the figures in the House of Commons during PMQs, saying:

“Over the last year we’ve seen more people in work in every region in our country and that is something to welcome.

“We have a record number of people in work in our history and we have a record number of women in work. Since I became Prime Minister, there are 2.3 million more people in work.”

Key statistics

• Employment: 31.4 million (up 588,000 over the past year and up by over 2.3 million since 2010).

• Employment rate: 74.0 per cent (up 1.1 points over the past year and up 3.8 points since 2010).

• Unemployment: 1.68 million (down 239,000 over the past year and down 835,000 since 2010).

• Unemployment rate: 5.1 per cent (down 0.8 points over the past year and down 2.9 points since 2010).

• Claimant count (Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit not in work): 785,900 in December (down 95,400 on last year and down 708,900 since 2010).

• Wages: average total pay rose by 2.0 per cent over the last year. Inflation over the same period was close to flat.

• The employment rate is at the highest in our history – at 74.0 per cent of people aged 16-64.

• Unemployment has fallen to its lowest in nearly a decade – at 5.1 per cent.

• Private sector employment is up by 2.7 million since 2010.

• There are more women in work than ever before with 1 million more women in work since 2010, and the number of unemployed women down by 89,000 over the year.

• The proportion of under-25s who are unemployed and not full-time students is the lowest on record – at 5.8 per cent.

• Among older people (50-64), employment is up 112,000 on the quarter and 261,000 on the year to 8.37 million.

• The number of long-term unemployed people has fallen by 25 per cent in the last year to 488,000.

• Vacancies were at 756,000 in the three months to December, up 46,000 on the year and 294,000 since 2010.