The number of people who are unemployed fell by 50,000 to 2.53 million between June and August, according to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics.
The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for June to August 2012 was 71.3 per cent – the highest figure since February to April 2009. It is up 0.5 percentage points on March to May 2012 and up 0.9 on a year earlier. The number of people in employment has not been higher since comparable records began in 1971, but the employment rate of 71.3 per cent, for those aged from 16 to 64, is lower than the pre-recession peak of 73.0 per cent recorded for March to May 2008.
The unemployment rate for June to August 2012 was 7.9 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.2 on March to May 2012 and down 0.3 on a year earlier. Some 1.08 women were unemployed, compared to 1.44m men. In the three months up to July the number of unemployed women was 1.10 million.
Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: “A quarterly rise of more than 150,000 employees offers the strongest evidence for some time that the jobs market might be gathering genuine momentum, with growth now being driven by firms rather than the self-employed. Almost every economic indicator is tentatively improving; with redundancies falling, vacancies rising and increases in basic pay edging to a level close to the current rate of inflation. However, with around a third of this increase in employment being taken up with temporary work, the figures also highlight the uncertainty still felt by many employers.
“The only cloud on the government’s horizon is the growing tail of long-term unemployed. All eyes will now therefore be on Work Programme providers’ task of bridging the gap between the demands of employers and the employability skills of the long-term unemployed.”