Unemployment has fallen to 4.3%, driven in part by the rise in full-time employment for women, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The figures cover the period from May to July and show the highest rate of female employment since comparable records began in 1971 at 70.8% [compared to 79.8% for men]. The annual rate of employment rose by 379,000, mainly due to more women working full time. Women working full time account for 239,000 of the 379,000 increase.
Part of the reason for the increase in the employment rate for women is due to the raising of the age at which women are eligible for the State Pension from 60 and 65.
The number of self-employed people increased by 88,000 to 4.85 million (15.1% of all people in work).
However, the statistics show average weekly wages have fallen. Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) fell by 0.4%, both including and excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.