The number of people in work has continued to rise, wtih the employment rate for women at a record high, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The figures show that in the period from March to May, 78.1% of men and 68.1% of women aged from 16 to 64 were in work, a higher rate than in the previous quarter and than a year earlier. However, while the employment rate for men was lower than before the 2008-09 downturn, when it peaked at 79.0% in early 2008, the employment rate for women was the highest since comparable records began in 1971.
The ONS says there were 30.64 million people aged 16 and over in work for March to May 2014, up by 254,000 from December 2013 to February 2014 and up by 929,000 on a year earlier. The annual increase is in part attributable to a big rise in self employment with the number of self-employed people increasing by 404,000 over the year to reach 4.58 million.
The number of women working full time has increased by 285,000 since last year to reach 8.17 million while the number working part time has also risen by 117,000 to reach 6.06m. The number of men working full time has risen by 480,000 to 14.27m and those working part time has increased by 47,000 to reach 2.14m.
The ONS reports that the employment rate continued to rise, reaching 73.1% for March to May 2014. The employment rate last reached 73.1% in December 2004 to February 2005 and, since records began in 1971, it has never been higher. There were 2.12 million unemployed people, 121,000 fewer than for December 2013 to February 2014 and 383,000 fewer than a year earlier. Unemployment now stands at 6.5%, the lowest since October to December 2008. Some 67,000 fewer people were described as economically inactive – out of work but not seeking employment. This includes stay at home parents and carers.
Pay including bonuses for employees in Great Britain for March to May 2014 was 0.3% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 0.7% higher.