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Job vacancies at record level as number in work remains at all-time high

Average earnings increased by 3.4% in the year to December, the highest for a decade, outpacing inflation.

Employment increased by 167,000 in the three months to December to 32.6 million, the highest since records began in 1971 (Steve Parsons/PA)
Employment increased by 167,000 in the three months to December to 32.6 million, the highest since records began in 1971 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Record numbers of people are in work and job vacancies are at their highest level ever, new figures reveal.

Average earnings increased by 3.4% in the year to December, the highest for a decade, outpacing inflation.

Employment increased by 167,000 in the three months to December to 32.6 million, the highest since records began in 1971.

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(PA Graphics)

Unemployment fell by 14,000 to 1.36 million, 100,000 lower than a year ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The UK’s jobless rate is now 4%, down by 0.3% on a year ago, and the lowest since 1975.

The number of economically inactive people fell by 94,000 in the latest quarter to 8.6 million, a rate of just under 21%, the lowest on record.

Vacancies increased by 16,000 to a record high of 870,000.

ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said: “The labour market remains robust, with the employment rate remaining at a record high and vacancies reaching a new record level.

“The unemployment rate has also fallen, and for women has dropped below 4% for the first time ever.

“Most of the growth in employment over the past year is among British nationals.”

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(PA Graphics)

The ONS reported that the number of overseas nationals in work was still increasing despite a drop in those from the Eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 because more people from non-EU countries are in work.

There were an estimated 2.27 million EU nationals working in the UK in the latest quarter, 61,000 fewer than a year earlier, while the number of non-EU nationals increased by 130,000 to 1.29 million.

The ONS added that the number of workers employed on zero-hours contracts fell by 57,000 to 844,000.

Minister of State for Employment Alok Sharma said: “While the global economy is facing many challenges, particularly in sectors like manufacturing, these figures show the underlying resilience of our jobs market – once again delivering record employment levels.

“Our pro-business policies mean we have started the new year with a strong labour market, with wages outpacing inflation for the 11th month in a row, and more people in work than ever before. It’s also excellent news that we see the rate of women in employment at a record high.

“Of course, we need to ensure that we continue to provide one-to-one support for anyone whose jobs may be at risk, or who might be looking to move to a new role.”

Press Association

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