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The number of women working full time has increased by 244,000 in the last year, according to new figures fro the Office for National Statistics which show the unemployment rate continuing to fall.
The ONS figures show a small increase in the number of men working part time – up 4,000 on last year – but a larger drop in the number of women working part time, down by 44,000.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.5%, with 175,000 more people in work between March and May than between December 2016 and February. The number of women in work rose to 70.4%, the highest female employment rate since comparable records began in 1971. The ONS says the increase in the employment rate for women is partly due to ongoing changes to the State Pension age for women resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65.
The number of people not working and not seeking or available for work, including stay-at-home parents, fell by 57,000 in the same period. The number of employees increased by 337,000 to 84.4% of all people in work. The number of self employed people also increased by 14,000, representing 15% of all people in work.
The ONS says latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain not adjusted for price inflation increased by 1.8% including bonuses, and by 2% excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier. When inflation is taken into account that means average weekly earnings fell by 0.7% including bonuses and 0.5% excluding bonuses.