UK unemployment falls to 2.53 million


Employment Minister Mark Hoban: "People do want to work and there are jobs out there for them"

The number of people out of work in the UK has continued to decline.

Unemployment fell by 50,000 to 2.53m in the three months to August, taking the jobless rate down to 7.9% from 8.1%.

The number of people in employment rose to a record of almost 30 million, the Office for National Statistics said.

The government said it was positive news, but Labour highlighted the growing numbers of people in temporary or part-time work because they could not get full-time, permanent jobs.

The ONS figures show that some 1.57 million people claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in September, a fall of 4,000 on the previous month.

A combination of more jobs being created and more people entering the workforce pushed the absolute number of people in employment to 29.6 million, the highest since these records began in 1971.

The percentage of people in work rose to 71.3%, the best rate since April 2009.

Temporary jobs

"It's a real landmark to see more people in work than ever before," Employment Minister Mark Hoban said.

Case study

Becky Warner

Becky Warner from Bedford has just found a full-time job after a two-year search:

I was doing numerous temping jobs that had nothing to do with helping me in my career, and I was taking these jobs for really low amounts of money because at least it was something.

I became so depressed, I ended up in hospital because I couldn't find work anywhere. It was always the same, having an interview, but missing the cut because of "lack of experience".

I signed up to at least 15 different agencies so I could get help looking for jobs. I've recently just got a full-time job, and I feel so much better about myself, but I know how hard it is being unemployed.

My best advice is to keep strong, keep focused, and never give up. Keep fighting, because if you want it that badly, you will achieve what you've wanted.

"Despite the tough economic times, the private sector continues to create jobs and our welfare reforms are encouraging people to return to work."

The government also noted that there were more job opportunities available, with the number of unfilled vacancies at 476,000, up 3,000 on the quarter and 17,000 from the same period last year.

Labour questioned the quality of the jobs, however.

"For those people who are in work, more will be on temporary contracts than for a very long time - the highest for 10 years," shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne told the BBC.

"About 60% of the jobs created since the general election are either self-employed or part-time.

"People in Britain are busting a gut and doing whatever it takes to get into work, but it just looks like the government are doing nothing to help them," he said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the prime minister said the government had responded, but recognised long-term unemployment was still too-high and more needed to be done.

"That is why the Work Programme has helped 693,000 people already and we are prepared to spend up to £14,000 on one individual to help them get back to work," David Cameron said, referring to the government's main scheme which aims to find jobs for those who have been unemployed for more than six months.

Start Quote

There has been no shortage of economic pain since 2007. What is striking is that the pain has been much more evenly distributed than when we have lurched from boom to bust in the past”

End Quote

This is often contracted out to private firms who get paid for placing people in work.

"We do have the measures in place to tackle this scourge," he said during Prime Minister's Questions.

In reply, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "The longer young people remain out of work, the greater the damage, not just now, but to their long-term prospects and the greater the damage to our economy."

Before the figures were released, the government announced the extension of its New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which it says will help 33,000 more jobseekers benefit from advice from a mentor to draw up a business plan.

The situation also improved for women and young people - two groups that have been particularly hard hit during this recession.

"There are more women in work than at any time in our history and actually the overall level of employment is now above where it was before the crash in 2008," David Cameron told parliament.

Mayele Malaba: "I've been to so many interviews I can't even count them"

The number of women out of work dropped by 19,000 to 1.08 million, while the number of men out of work dropped by 31,000 to 1.44 million.

The number of unemployed 16-24-year-olds fell by 62,000 in the three months to August to 957,000. Almost a third of those are in full-time education.

Average earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to July, which was a small increase from the previous month.

The picture on unemployment differed across the UK:

  • In Scotland, unemployment increased by 7,000 to 222,000
  • In Wales, the number out of work fell by 7,000 to 125,000
  • In England, the drop was 59,000, taking the total to 2.11 million
  • In Northern Ireland, the number out of work rose by 10,000 to 70,000

Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland all have unemployment rates above the UK average of 7.9%.

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Claimant count - June 2012


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  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    9. Sam M
    work at docks that they are afraid of losing their jobs
    Everybody are afraid in loosing their job because they know that they won't get another job as easy as they did many years ago plus they will have to rely on benefits that they know will not get them through until a job comes up unless they have plenty of savings to live on.
    Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid! they have you by the Bx

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    A lot of BBC forumites will see the negative, but it is good news and while things are not great in the UK, they are far worse in some EU countries, plus we still have low interest rates.

    One of the problems we have is the inexhaustible supply of cheap eastern European labour, which means wages won't rise and competition for jobs will increase.

    BTW, France is failing with anti austerity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    A minor piece of good news but a long way to go yet ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    I expect this is all the benefit scroungers being kicked out of the system.

  • Comment number 22.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    These figures don't reflect reality as there's now more people in part time employment, basicly two people doing 1 persons job.

    I would take this news with a pinch of salt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    My job is to help those back to work and there ARE lots of jobs out there. Some full, most part time. I tell all my clients, theres nothing stopping them taking two part time jobs. Its also great to see employers hiring young people.

    It is amazing how many people dont adapt their CV for the job they are applying for. A simple tip, READ and ensure your skills meet those asked in the advertisement

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I wonder how many are just claimants of JSA who have'nt been bothered to do the mandatory work scheme. Figures suggest half of claimants simply stop claiming when this comes into play, and i beleive now its been brought forward to 6 months before mandatory work starts. There is a difference between this and actually people in work

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    9.Sam M
    3 Minutes ago

    Don't get me wrong - I am not blaming the rest of the UK - in fact I think North England, Wales etc. get a raw deal also. Only thing Westminster cares about is the City.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I think the graph says it all really. It's a good sign for the short-term but it doesn't yet look like a long-term trend. Another million jobs still need to be created to get it back down to the levels of a few years ago (which I'm particularly concerned about as I'm graduating from university next year!).

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Good news, if the figures are true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Looks like the green shoots of recovery are finally here, although I wouldn't get too excited yet, we've still got a long way to go. Will be even better if the 3rd Quarter growth figures show that we're out of recession.

    Anyway, this is very good news and has restored some of my confidence in the government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    This is excellent news any gain in EMPLOYMENT is to be lauded. If all Ed Millipeed has to say is to criticise Andrew Mitchell it proves he has nothing to offer British politics. He is and empty vessel without any substance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    The 50,000 increase in employment for the 3 months leading up to August can be by in large attributed to summer seasonal work which is mainly part time, temporary and will have ended already. The same thing will happen at Christmas as well with part time, temporary seasonal positions that will end January. These figures don't hide the real problem of a lack of proper, full time meaningful jobs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    These figures are meaningless.

    So some Eastern Europeans went home. Or you managed to reclassify a bunch of jobless people onto disability benefits. Or the students have gone back.

    None of these things mean things are actually easier for people out of work. There aren't more jobs paying higher wages as demand for skills increases. Quite the opposite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    7. Douglas Lee
    This is very good news, and shows that the policies of the coalition government, led by the Conservatives, are working, and are helping the country to build for the future. All we need is patience and hard work, and we'll get there.

    That is contrary to the spirit of HYS! You are not sufficiently malcontent and Tory hating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    @ 5 Brora

    I see your point but blaming the UK is unfair. I do know after talking to Scottish friends who work at docks that they are afraid of losing their jobs if Scotland does go independent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Most of this drop will be part time low paid jobs on 0 hour contracts

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    This is very good news, and shows that the policies of the coalition government, led by the Conservatives, are working, and are helping the country to build for the future. All we need is patience and hard work, and we'll get there.


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