Unemployment at three-year low as number of Britons in work reaches all-time high of 30m

Despite the record-breaking numbers, the figures are propped-up by a record number are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs

30 million Britons are now in some form of employment - an all-time high boosted by much higher than expected jobs figures between June and September.

The employment total is the highest since records began in 1971 after a huge increase of 177,000 in the third quarter of 2013.

At the same time, unemployment fell by 48,000 to 2.47 million, the lowest since the spring of 2011, while the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance was cut for the 12th month in a row in October, down by 41,700 to 1.31 million, the lowest for almost five years.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a sick relative, or people who have given up looking for work, also fell - down by 69,000 to 8.92 million.

Despite the record-breaking numbers, the figures are propped-up by a record number of people working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs.

Data from the 0ffice for National Statistics showed that 1.46 million said they worked part-time because they could not find full-time work, an increase of 24,000 over the quarter, and the highest figure since records began in 1992.

Almost a third of working men are in part-time employment because they cannot find a full-time job, compared to 13 per cent of women.

The number of men and women working full-time increased, but there was a 22,000 fall in women in part-time jobs.

Around 890,000 people have been out of work for over a year, down by 19,000, with just under half of those unemployed for more than two years, a fall of 15,000.

There were 950,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds in the latest period, around a third of whom were in full-time education, a fall of 9,000, giving a youth jobless rate of 21 per cent.

Average earnings increased by 0.7 per cent in the year to September, down by 0.1 per cent from the previous month.

Excluding bonuses, pay rose by 0.8 per cent, the joint lowest since records began in 2001.

The UK's unemployment rate of 7.6 per cent is lower than the European Union's average of 11 per cent, with the highest rates in Greece (27.6 per cent) and Spain (26.6 per cent).

The lowest rates are in Austria (4.9 per cent) and Germany (5.2 per cent).

Minister for Employment Esther McVey said: "This Government is delivering on its promise to rebalance the economy, promote job creation, and support people to get off benefits and into work.

"Today's figures show that the number of people in work has risen by more than a million under this Government, with the growth driven by full-time private sector jobs.

"At the same time, the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by almost half a million. There's more work to do, and we are not complacent, but these are all very positive signs."

In a message on Twitter, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "There are now 1.1m more people in work since the election - more proof our long-term plan for Britain is working."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Britain's workforce is getting larger but poorer.

"It is encouraging that more jobs are being created but job quality is falling and close to a 20-year low. A record number of people are stuck in part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, while real wages continue to shrink fast despite falling inflation.

"We need better jobs and healthier pay rises to tackle the living standards crisis and ensure that the full benefits of recovery reach working people."

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: "Mass unemployment of 2.47 million six years into the recession shows that getting people back to work has a very low priority in current economic policy.

"In the last few weeks alone, GMB members making steel, glass, rubber and ships have lost jobs on a large scale due to lack of demand for what they make. This entitles people to ask what sort of recovery is under way and when will it trickle down to get the unemployed back to work?"

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "This is another set of positive figures, confirming the flexibility and resilience of the UK labour market, and point to continued economic growth over the next year.

"The fall in the jobless rate is clearly more rapid than the monetary policy committee initially predicted in August, but this should not be seen as a failure of the forward guidance policy.

"Youth and long-term unemployment remain areas of concern that must be addressed, but it is good to see that the figures are now moving in the right direction. The Government must build on the progress made so far and support job creation, focusing in particular on more support for exporters and improving access to finance for growing businesses."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said: "Today's fall in unemployment is welcome, but families facing a cost-of-living crisis need a recovery that benefits them, and these figures show we are still far from achieving that.

"Prices have now risen much faster than wages for 40 of the 41 months since David Cameron became Prime Minister. On average, working people are now over £1,600 a year worse off under this out-of-touch Government.

"The employment figures give no cause for complacency. The number of people who want to work full-time but are stuck on part-time hours is at a record high. And youth unemployment is still at unacceptable and unaffordable levels."

Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, said: "Any fall in unemployment is welcome but these figures must be seen for what they really are. Underemployment is rife. "

John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "These are strong jobs figures and build on recent positive trends. However, long-term youth unemployment remains a deep concern.

"The FSB's Small Business Index also suggests cause for optimism, with small firms expecting to take on staff in the coming three months. This is good news, but we would like to see Government do more to ensure that young people are prepared for today's labour market."

Felicity Burch, economist at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said: "Today's labour market figures add to an improving picture for the UK economy. The data also continues to show that manufacturers are offering jobs of a higher quality than in the rest of the economy overall.

"Companies of all sizes in manufacturing are offering better salaries, benefits and training than most, if not all, other sectors and, at a time when we need the brightest and best to enter the sector, we need to ensure that data which backs this up is more widely recognised."

Additional reporting PA

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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 General

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Lead FE Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, jQuery, Knockout)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead FE Softwa...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed for Se...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor