Unemployment down to 5.7%

18 Feb 15
The unemployment rate fell to 5.7% over the three months to December, the lowest level since 2008, Office of National Statistics figures have revealed.

Latest labour market data showed that the number of unemployed people looking for work fell by 97,000 to 1.86 million between October and December last year. Over the year, there were 486,000 fewer people out of work.

Long-term unemployment was also down, falling by 210,000 – equivalent to a quarter – over the year. The Department for Work and Pensions said this was the largest fall in 16 years.

Meanwhile, the employment rate reached 73.2% over the quarter, the highest it has ever been, according to the ONS. Employment grew by 103,000 to reach 30.9 million, in the final three months of 2014 when compared to the preceding quarter.

Commenting on the figures, the DWP said the Work Programme had been instrumental in the bringing the number of long-term unemployed people down to its lowest level in five years.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘In the week that Universal Credit started its nationwide roll out, these figures show that a reformed welfare system goes hand in hand with helping people to take advantage of the record number of vacancies available.

‘We are getting people into work, making work pay, and in so doing we are ensuring a better future for Britain. Following yesterday’s inflation figures, wages have risen at a faster rate than prices once again, meaning more money in people’s pockets – with pay including bonuses up 2.1% on the year and private sector pay up 2.5%.’


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