Figures out today show the number of people in employment has increased to a new record high of 29.46 million. At the same time the numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance continues to fall for the seventeenth consecutive month, remaining the lowest claimant count for 32 years.

The new figures, issued by the Office for National Statistics, show unemployment has fallen by 32,000 on the quarter with 89,000 fewer people unemployed compared to a year ago. The number of vacancies remains high at 678,500.
 
Stephen Timms, Minister for Employment said:
 
“Once again this is a strong set of figures. There have never been more people in work in the UK. Our employment rate of 74.8% continues to be above that of most other countries within the EU.
 
“Gone are the days when whole cities and towns were suffering high unemployment. Every region and country in the UK now benefits from higher employment and there are a million fewer people on key out of work benefits than ten years ago. We recognise, however, that there are still small areas where employment remains low and we are taking steps to address this by working with local partners in deprived communities to ensure people get the support they need to move off benefits and into work. Our welfare reforms are providing more people with greater opportunities to get in to work where they can support themselves and their families.”
 
Media Enquiries Caroline Calder 0203 267 5124
DWP Press Office 0203 267 5144
Out of hours 07659 108883
 
BACKGROUND TO LABOUR MARKET STATISTICS: MARCH 2008
 
This month’s labour force survey covers November to January 2008. The claimant unemployment and vacancy count dates were 14th February and 8th February respectively.
 
Employment is at record levels
 
- 29.46 million people were in work in November to January, the highest figure on record
- Employment rose by 166 thousand on the quarter and 367 thousand on the year
- The employment rate is 74.8%, up 0.3 percentage points on the quarter, and up 0.4 percentage points on the year
 
The number of people on the key out of-of-work benefits is falling
 
- the claimant count was 793.5 thousand in February 2008, down 2.8 thousand on the month, and down 126.5 thousand on the year. It has now fallen for 17 consecutive months.
- In the year to May 2007, the number of people claiming the key out-of work benefits fell by over 100 thousand. The number of people claiming incapacity benefits fell by 45 thousand, to 2.64 million and the number receiving lone parent benefits fell 9 thousand to 765.6 thousand.
 
ILO unemployment remains historically low
 
- 1.61 million people were ILO unemployed in November to January, down by 32 thousand on the quarter and 89 thousand on the year
- The ILO unemployment rate is 5.2%, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter, and 0.3 percentage points on the year.
 
Economic inactivity is improving
 
- the economic inactivity level is 7.89 million, down 68 thousand on the quarter, and down 2 thousand on the year.
- the economic inactivity rate is 21.0%, down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter, and down 0.1 percentage points on the year.
- excluding students, inactivity as a proportion of the working age population is down 0.3 percentage points over the last year, at 15.8%.
 
Vacancies remain very high and redundancies are very low
 
- ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 678.5 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to February 2008, up 1.6 thousand on the quarter, and up 59.7 thousand on the year
- More than 10,000 vacancies are placed at Jobcentres every day and many more come up through other recruitment channels
- There were 110 thousand redundancies this quarter, down 23 thousand on the previous quarter and down 26 thousand on the previous year to the lowest level since comparable records began in 1995.
 
Earnings growth in the year to January was 3.7%, down 0.1 percentage points from December
 
- excluding bonuses, average earnings growth was 3.7%, unchanged from the December figure.
 
 
Key out-of-work benefits: May 1997- latest levels, in thousands[1]
 
Date
Lone Parents on Income Support (IS) 3
Other (IS others and Pension Credit) [4],[5]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
May-97
1,619.6
2,616.3
1,014.2
256.2
 
May-98
1,350.0
2,631.2
961.8
232.5
 
May-99
1,273.1
2,653.9
936.6
222.3
 
May-00
1,104.7
2,686.3
919.4
211.1
 
May-01
974.9
2,753.7
900.4
180.4
 
May-02
947.1
2,765.7
871.0
165.8
 
May-03
947.2
2,773.6
855.8
156.1
 
May-04
858.1
2,772.9
823.3
155.4
 
May-05
854.0
2,741.7
789.3
151.0
 
May-06
951.9
2,688.1
774.9
152.6
 
May-07
877.9
2,643.3
765.6
166.9
 
Feb-08
793.5
-
-
-
Total change
 
-741.7
27.0
-248.6
-89.3
-1,052.6
Change
 
 
May 97 to
May 07
 
Change
-826.1
27.0
-248.6
-89.3
-1,137.0
May 97
to
latest
 
 
 
 
· Between May 1997 and May 2007, the number of people on the main out-of-work benefits fell by 1,052,600. Taking account of more up-to-date claimant count information the fall is 1,137,000, though this will need to be confirmed once data on the other benefit groups becomes available for the more recent period.


[1] This table includes the main out-of-work client group categories, with the exception of carers who are not subject to activation policies in the same way as other groups.
 
[2] UK figures (seasonally adjusted) published by ONS. This 100% series is the most reliable and up-to-date source for claimant unemployment.
 
[3] GB figures (not seasonally adjusted). Published by DWP back to 1999 as part of the 100% working age client group analysis. Earlier consistent figures have been created by combining information from the previously published 5% sample data with the WPLS data. A consistent series for the UK as a whole is not readily available.
 
[4] GB figures (not seasonally adjusted). Published by DWP back to 1999 as part of the 100% working age client group analysis. Before 1999 a 5% sample series is used, scaled to be consistent with the 100% data.
 
[5] Excludes around 86,000 claimants in receipt of income support and carers allowance. This group has been stable over time and does not affect the estimated decrease in benefit claimants.

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