Unemployment at lowest since 2008

Latest jobs figures show that the UK unemployment rate is 5.4%, the lowest it has been since the recession in 2008, analysis by Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals.

31.12 million people are now in work, an increase by 359,000 while 1.77 million people are unemployed, 198,000 less than last year.

The employment rate is currently 73.6% with employees working in the UK rising by 441,000 to 26.43 million. This is the highest level the employment rate has reached since records began in 1971.

Self-employment fell by 26,000 to 4.5 million between July and August this year.

Wages have also risen by 3% year-on-year while youth unemployment continues to decline.

James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

"Employment is up in most sectors and across the country, pay is growing and long-term, short-term, and youth unemployment are all falling. This is a welcome sign of a healthy economy, a strong private sector, and a tightening labour market."

Matthew Fell, interim chief policy director at the Confederation of British Industry, said:

"While we want to see higher pay growth, this must go hand in hand with increases in productivity."

Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation called the strong performance in wages in the retail sector "encouraging", but warned that performance in manufacturing and construction is not as strong. He added:

"Ongoing pay constraint in the public sector is likely to translate into increasing recruitment and retention difficulties in the coming months."

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