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 46.

    Its all fine and well, but how many are working less than 20 hours a week and paying zero tax/will still be eligible for housing benefit/other benefits as their wage isnt a wage that can actually be lived on?

    Now that percentage of "newly employed" the govt really doesnt want people to know about; why? Because a, it'd explain the benefit expenditure increase and b, show how weak our economy is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Just goes to show what can be done by sanctioning benefit claimants and shortening peoples hours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I would rather see the number of employed go up than unemployed go down, unemployment going down does not always mean that the actual number of employed goes up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    What we need are statistics that we can trust and can be viewed simply online to assess what the stats mean in real life for people

    50,000 people on part time contract minimum wage is very different to 50,000 full time permanant decently paid jobs. Major difference.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    @31. FishOnTwoWheels ----- Re read your own post! "if two people are taken on doing around 20 hours a week instead of one person doing 40 hours per week" "but people have been forced into taking 2 or 3 of them to survive!"
    My math's must be poor then! 2 x 20 = 40. Hmmm
    The benefit to the worker is lower/no NI contributions. It can be more flexi (like parents working when kids are at school - etc.)

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    22. moggy

    It's inhuman how the government uses work to keep people off benefits!

    It's a disgrace! I blame Thatcher.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Inflation down, unemployment dow,, earnings up, car manufacturing up. Finally some good news for a change! And in the middle of the Euro crisis.
    Lets talk up the UK economy and stop being so glum. With some optimism and hard work the UK can be a world beater again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Don't believe the spin. Whoever is in power, the stats would be manipulated to suit. Also, we had the olympics in this period, so job figures will definately be inflated and go down in the next quarter!

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Stats provided by government or agencies are completely unreliable and so cannot be trusted. Just look at what the current government is trying to do to cook the books on the Consumer vs Retail Price Index to suit their own agenda.

    Good news if true, but probably totally unrelated to reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Wow, just imagine what a competent government could have achieved...

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I took Voluntary redundancy after 45 years of continuous work, where I was lucky enough to have been healty all those years and never signed on during that time.
    Since June 19th 2012 I have been living off my statutory 20 years maximum redundancy pay without signing on as I do not wish to sponge off the Government!
    I am still trying to start my Company Pension I am one person not in the statistics

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I have just come back from the Job Centre where I have been struck off the Job Seekers register because I have decided to undertake a voluntary, unpaid, part-time internship. No wonder there are less people on Job Seekers and therefore less people classed as 'unemployed' because those who are trying to gain unpaid work-experience are being refused support by our government...

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    5. Brora- it would be alot worse outside. I work in construction, and the SNP aren't doing anything to help. Stop the constitutional obsession and create some jobs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Month on month unemployment is coming down...but the economy is shrinking. Can't quite square that one. Still it is good news especially for those who are now in work. The next election will be about who is most trusted with the economy, it always is. On that score the coalition is building up a head of steam.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    This is THE most important statistic of all. Jobs to give income, self respect and a stake in society must be any governments first priority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    It isn't hard how successive government's have used the figures to disguise the truth. It doesn't take a brain box to work out that if two people are taken on doing around 20 hours a week instead of one person doing 40 hours per week, that it is going to APPEAR there are more people working! Part time jobs DO NOT pay the bills, but people have been forced into taking 2 or 3 of them to survive!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    More workers on less hours, figures go up, boss gets bonus, Government get a pat on the back.

    I've been on an 8 hour seasonal contract for a year, overtime is random, shift patterns change, one month I may earn a decent amount, the next I earn less than I would signing on.

    What does my company do? Hire another load of workers on the same contract instead of giving us full time stable work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    No, unemployment hasn't fallen. The way the numbers are compiled has been changed so that a lot of people are still not working but are no longer classified as 'unemployed'.

    There are loads of new rules that mean JSA, ESA etc will be withdrawn if a claimant steps out of line.

    When Universal Credit comes in, we'll all be 'not unemployed', no job though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Well several thousand will be because of the Olympics, and in the run-up to Christmas I'm sure a lot will be short-term. I'm not convinced this is anything to get too excited about. When we invest in manufacturing so we can export real goods we will never be able to really celebrate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Obviously the figures would drop over summer, when lots do part time work and so on. The figures will go back up. There may be enough jobs but most of them don't pay enough to live off. The other side is that people are over-skilled and don't want to effectively waste their qualifications by doing basic work that is below their level of skill. After-all, why spend ages getting qualifications?


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