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 306.

    Adam says 'this is very good news' but how can this be so as the cuts in public service jobs, severe reductions in council spending, further business closures as well as income reductions through the pay freeze and inflation take their effect- what is called 'stagflation' Sorry Adam do not buy it. I feel there's worst to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    Another one totally out of touch with reality. Minimum wage is standard fare in these parts. A shop manager may get 10p an hour above minimum wage. A university standard education is required for some minimum wage jobs; totally ridiculous. As for these 1000's of vacancies: a lot are commission only jobs and so called self employed jobs that offer no real wage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    Another load of bull stats, left the Armed Forces in March and started work in April overseas no work for me in the country that I have served for over 27 years, yes I have a pension but not what most would think long and short is that I needed a job and used my own links to get one nothing from the government. There are jobs out there but most are to comfy 9 to 5 home every night, if only!

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    Olympics 'jobs'.

    I think some on here may not know that there were an awful lot of unpaid positions (no expenses, either) at the Olympics. I personally know 2 people who worked on these (and it wasn't grubby G4S security stuff either); recently unemployed people from the private sector. Under the current 'rules' it appears these may count for reducing the unemployment figures of the period.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    These figures stink. I live in Middlesbrough; a place targeted by the Tories and can tell you what is happening. A young person is directed to work and gets 40 hours, great. 6 months later a second person off the dole is directed to the same place. The first person’s hours drop to 16. 2 people are now sharing the 40 hours. It’s easy to see why the Tories wanted certain companies on board

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.


    41 Minutes ago


  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    Until the manufacturing idustrial base of this country has been rebuilt, any Governmental employment figures will always be tranished with jobs that are both poorly paid and short-term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    So all the figures are fixed , unemployment is getting worse .

    What did millibean have to talk about at PMQs .

    A tory who might have called a policeman a pleb .

    Finger on the pulse there ed .

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Its incredible the amount of people who dont lie when they say, 'there are jobs out there'

    But forget to say, 'But not enough of them'

    Convenient for those who dont want to think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    Not surprising! I left University having had 3 (yes 4) part time jobs at the same time, and took the plunge to move in with my girlfriend rather than the cheaper option of living with parents. The JSA was based on my girlfriend's 40 hr job rather than my own ... as a single financial unit. The result? The government would not support me to search for jobs, and expected my girlfriend to do it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    If I have a part time job at poundland that 'job' takes me off the official Government unemployment figures? Unemployment figures should be full times Job, unless slavery is an accepted form of employment these days!

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    290. sam1952
    "Great news for most ..."
    You overstate, like the socially charming but economically inept Mr Osborne.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    They really must think the electorate are stupid! They came out with this nonsense before.

    Unless the talk in terms of full time employment the figures are utterly meaningless.

    The loss of ONE FULL TIMER wouldn't make four 0.2 WTEs. They are simply cooking the books to get good headline figures. It is just CON after CON.
    Paper rounds and other part time jobs don't pay the rent/mortgage!

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    If you look at the data from the ONS, which of course is based on a survey of a sample of people, you'll notice that the fall in unemployment is an estimate. The margin of error in the sample means it could actually have been a rise... It's not statistically significant enough to draw any conclusions from.

    Plus it includes Olympics jobs...!

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.


    31 years, and back to the bottom here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    Great news for most - bad news for the sceptics and misery-fudgers. The official ONS (non Government) figures for people in employment rose to a record of almost 30 million - again, dire news for the sceptics who pray for all things bad. Unfilled vacancies at 476,000 and rising. Problem is, everyone wants at least £25 per hour for unskilled work! - Start at the bottom and work your way up, duh...

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.


    Excuse my french but I've heard a lot of the bolleaux that DC & GO have come out with but I missed that.

    I've also missed Ed Balls showing any humility for his part in the previous government but I've definitely heard him talking a lot of bolleaux

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    Of the 50k getting jobs, how many are p/t? If full time thats half as many. How many are because people have been transferred on to some kind of training scheme?
    Remember these figures are for summer when traditionally there is lots of seasonal work which was boosted even further by the Olympics.
    Lets wait & see what the Sept -Nov figures are. I'm not confident that they will continue to go down

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    @262 "Unemployment would fall much more quickly if young mothers brought up their own children instead of paying nursery schools and nannies to do it for them"
    Then by the same virtue , Nurseries would go out of business.
    A bit of joined up thinking please you facile Tory/UKIP voter.


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