Unemployment rate holds steady as claimants total drops

Number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 15,000 to reach 973,000

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance has dropped to its lowest level in more than four years whilst employment figures have reached a record high. 

But long-term and youth unemployment have increased, new figures showed today.

The so-called claimant count dropped by 29,200 in July - the ninth consecutive monthly drop - to 1.4 million, making it the lowest since February 2009.

Total unemployment, including those not eligible for benefit, fell by 4,000 in the quarter to June to 2.5 million.

Self-employment has also jumped by 6,000 to 4.1 million and the number of unpaid family workers have risen by 6,000 to 111,000.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said the figures "paint a positive picture of the UK labour market."

"There are now more jobs available than at any time since the end of 2008, and more hours being worked than ever before - which shows that there are opportunities out there for people who want to work and get on in life," he said.

However, levels of youth unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds increased by 15,000 to hit 973,000, while the number of unemployed people for more than two years rose by 10,000 to 474,000, the highest since 1997.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said the "small drop" in unemployment rates masks the "damaging growth of under-employment plaguing the country and stifling economic recovery".

He said: "A toxic combination of part-time, minimum wage, zero-hours working is spreading across the country, as decently paid, full-time opportunities become increasingly rare.

"We know that just a few months ago there were, on average, almost four people chasing every vacant job in England, Scotland and Wales. For young people desperate to get their first job, these are desperate times. Getting the work experience they need to get a start in life is hard to find."

Other figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that average weekly earnings, including bonuses, increased by 2.1 per cent in the year to June, up by 0.3 per cent on the previous month.

It is the first time the rate has gone over 2 per cent since 2011, but the ONS said it reflected unusually high bonus payments in April.

The number of people in work increased by 69,000 in the quarter to June to 29.78 million, the highest since records began in 1971.

The figure is 301,000 higher than a year ago, giving a rate of 71.5 per cent.

The unemployment rate has remained at 7.8 per cent, as opposed to the 7 per cent figure given by new Bank of England governor Mark Carney as a possible trigger for changes in interest rates.

Meanwhile, the number of people classed as economically inactive, including those caring for a sick relative or who are no longer seeking work, fell by 10,000 in the latest quarter to just under nine million, a rate of 22 per cent.

The ONS said the number of people aged between 16 and 64 in employment has almost recovered to pre-recession figures five years ago, but the employment rate has not recovered as much because of a 673,000 increase in the population of this age group.

The employment rate for men is unchanged at 76 per cent but has increased by 0.1 per cent to 66.7 per cent among women.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said more women are in work than ever before.

"This growth has been driven by a rise in permanent, private sector jobs, which suggests businesses are feeling positive about the future, " he added.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "Rising youth joblessness crushes young ambitions. Our research shows that many young people are expecting nothing but a life on benefits.

"We cannot let a whole generation of young people give up hope for the future."

Additional reporting by PA

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices