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Largest fall in unemployment since records began

In the largest annual fall since the 1970s – when Donny Osmond topped the charts with Puppy Love - there are now over half a million fewer unemployed people than there were a year ago. The unemployment rate has also fallen again - to 6% - a new 6-year low. This compares to an unemployment rate of 7.7% just a year ago.  Over the last year every single region and nation in the UK has seen a fall in unemployment.

There are now a record 30.76 million people in work. Compared to 2010 there are over 2 million more people in private sector jobs – more than the total number of people currently unemployed – showing that the Government’s long-term economic plan to create jobs by backing businesses is working.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said:

“All of our reforms are focussed on helping people into work and today’s record figures show that the Government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is proving successful.

“Behind the record figures there are countless individual stories of people turning their lives around, of families who are now feeling more secure with a regular wage, and of young people escaping unemployment and building a career.

“We know there is always more to do, which is why it is vital to stick to delivering a plan for full employment that's creating growth and jobs."

Schemes like the Government’s Work Programme have contributed to the largest drop in long-term unemployment since 1998 - falling by 194,000 on the year. The number of people on Jobseeker’s Allowance fell for the 23rd month in a row, with over 540,000 fewer people who are signing-on than in 2010.

Young People

Young people (18-24) saw the largest annual fall in unemployment since records began – falling by over a quarter of a million since last year.Excluding those in full-time education, there are now 468,000 unemployed young people. This is down by nearly a third compared to last year and lower than just before the recession.

The number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell again, for the 34thmonth in a row.  There are now fewer young JSA claimants than at any time in two generations – having dropped by 123,000 in the past year.


There are record numbers of women in work with the UK having seen the fastest growth in the number of women in work in the last year out of all G7 economies.  Of those women working part-time, nearly 90% have chosen to work part-time because it suits them. The proportion of women working part-time who want full-time work (12.6%) is falling, down 41,000 over the last year.

International Comparisons

Over the last year the UK has seen the largest growth in employment and the largest fall in unemployment in the G7.


Job vacancies rose again, up 130,000 over the past year bringing the number of vacancies in the UK economy to 674,000.


Wages excluding bonuses were up 0.9% on the year, with private sector wages rising faster - at 1.2% - than the public sector. The financial services sector saw bonuses fall by 5%.

Ian Burke, director at, said, “While businesses are more confident than ever about hiring new staff, youth unemployment and stagnant wage growth persists. The Conservatives’ pledge to fund more apprenticeship programmes is a good start, but more needs to be done to ensure that people young and old are able to find work that pays.”

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, “These figures confirm once again that the UK labour market remains strong. The significant fall in youth unemployment over the past year is a remarkable success story, despite the fact that it is above the national average.

“However, there are some areas of concern such as the slowest increase in employment for fifteen months, which suggests that the pace of economic growth is easing. While the fall in unemployment over the past three months was larger than the rise in jobs, this is because the number of people choosing not to seek work increased.

“With early wage increases remaining below 1% a year there is clearly no case for early rate increases - and we are pleased that this view is now widely accepted by the financial markets.”

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said, “This is another strong quarter for the labour market, with unemployment falling to its lowest level in six years. Overall employment growth has slowed, but it’s encouraging that we are seeing a renewed rise in people finding work with an employer, rather than in self-employment. Whilst pay growth has risen, it remains sluggish, reflecting persistently weak productivity. All politicians need to look beyond short-term headlines to policies that will boost skills and productivity, underpinning the ability of firms to pay more in future.”


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