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Unemployment falls

Unemployment falls by 49,000


The number of Britons in work jumped to 29.58 per cent of the population in the three months to September, taking employment to highs not seen since the recession, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

It means that 71.2 per cent of the population are now in employment, up 100,000 from April to June, although still lower than the pre-recession peak of 73 per cent.

The rise in employment is wholly due to 49,000 16-24 year olds coming out of the ‘unemployment’ classification. More young people are now classed as ‘economically inactive’ – most of whom moved into full-time education.

Unemployment remains a problem for 7.8 per cent of the population – around 2.51 million people are out of work – although this figure has dropped by 0.2 per cent compared with the three months to June. It is the lowest level for over a year.

Elsewhere however, the claimant count – those claiming Jobseeker’s allowance – rose to 1.58 million in October, up by 10,100 from the previous month.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said: “It’s good news to see yet another increase in the number of people in work and to see unemployment fall again. The fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, although we’re not complacent about the scale of the challenge still facing us.

“We’re working hard to help the long-term unemployed back into a job. That’s why we’ve committed to supporting the hardest-to-help people over a two-year period through the Work Programme so that we can help them overcome their barriers to work and get them into sustainable jobs.”

Commenting on the figures, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said that while the picture was a promising suggestion the UK was moving out of recession, conditions remain fragile.

“There are no grounds to backtrack on the government’s commitment to cutting the deficit, still less to increase the pressure on the jobs market by yet more government interference,” the IEA said.

“In the last few weeks we have seen proposals to extend the ‘living wage’ to all government contracts, and to increase the scope of the right to request flexible working. Employers face quite enough problems at the moment without further impositions of this kind.”


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