Unemployment has fallen to 6%, with most of the increase being accounted for by full-time jobs, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Between August and October there were 22.54 million people working full-time, 560,000 more than a year earlier. There were 8.25 million people working part-time, 28,000 more than a year earlier.
Comparing August to October 2014 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 1.4% including bonuses and by 1.6% excluding bonuses.
The figures show 77.9% of men and 68.1% of women aged from 16 to 64 were in work between August and October. These employment rates for men and women were higher than those for May to July 2014 and for a year earlier. The employment rate for men was lower than before the 2008/09 downturn, when it peaked at 79.1% in late 2007/early 2008. However, the employment rate for women was the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.
Over the last year the number of employees working full-time has increased by 421,000 to reach 19.22 million and the number of employees working part-time has fallen by 20,000 to reach 6.81 million. The number of self-employed people working full-time increased by 160,000 to reach 3.25 million and the number of self-employed people working part-time increased by 79,000 to reach 1.28 million.
Professor Geraint Johnes, director at Lancaster University’s Work Foundation, said: “There is almost uniformly good news. The more detailed statistics suggest a continuing trend towards restoration of normality in the labour market. The number of employees in employment increased by 165,000, with a reduction of 29,000 in self-employment. Amongst those who are self-employed, the number working part-time fell by 34,000 while the number working full-time rose slightly. Meanwhile the total number of people working full-time increased by 166,000, and there was a reduction of 51,000 in the number working part-time. This is all reassuring news. We have expressed concern in recent months about the high levels of insecurity that remain in the labour market. While this is still a concern, the latest figures indicate that we are clearly moving in the right direction.”
He said employment gains had been particularly pronounced in the utilities, transport and storage, and arts and recreation and regionally the North West was showing the strongest improvement, while employment had declined in London and the South East.
He added: “Arguably the most significant development this month has been the rise in the rate of growth of weekly earnings – up 1.8% on a year ago. This increase is now well above the rate of price inflation. The increase has been particularly marked in finance and business services (3.0%), with earnings in the construction industry also rising quickly (2.7%). The recovery in finance comes on the back of a steady increase over the last three months. In manufacturing, however, the rate of growth of earnings has moderated somewhat, reflecting muted growth in the production sector.”