Record numbers in work as jobless total falls to seven year low

Record numbers are in work and unemployment has fallen to a seven-year low, figures show.

Record numbers are in work and unemployment has fallen to a seven-year low, figures show. - Credit: PA

The Government has been given a pre-Christmas boost on the jobs front after new figures showed record numbers in work and unemployment falling to a seven-year low.

The UK has reached an employment high, driven by a rise in full-time workers, official figures show.

In the East of England, employment levels over the quarter from August to October rose by 15,000 on the previous period to stand at more than 3million. Year-on-year, it has risen by 41,000, the latest Labour Market Statistics show.

Across the UK, more than 31million people are in work, the highest amount since comparable records began in 1971, giving an employment rate of almost 74%.

Unemployment fell by 110,000 in the quarter to October to 1.7m, the lowest since the spring of 2008.

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The claimant count - those on jobseeker’s allowance and the out of work element of Universal Credit - increased by 3,900 last month to 796,200, today’s data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

But claimant counts last month across Suffolk were the same as in October at 5,110, while in Essex, they fell slightly from 11,610 to 11,585 across the same period. The figures across both counties have fallen steadily each month for the last two years.

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Employment Minister Priti Patel said there were more people in work in the East of England than ever before.

“We are ending the year on a high, with a record rate of employment, and wages continuing to grow,” she said.

“Today’s figures show half a million more people in work compared to this time last year across the UK, which means hundreds of thousands of families are going into the festive season with the security and hope that work brings.”

Office for National Statistics statistician David Freeman said earnings continued to grow in real terms, although at a slower rate than in recent months.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “We now have 800,000 people on zero-hours contracts or working part-time and large numbers underemployed.”

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