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 326.

    this is just manipulation and distortion of the facts. in other words lies,pedalled by this govt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Sounds like the powers that be are massaging the figures here, very common practise when they feel they need a little good news

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    DC: "we are prepared to spend up to £14,000 on one individual to help them get back to work"
    BBC: "This is often contracted out to private firms who get paid for placing people in work"

    If these are part time jobs then why not just cut out the (expensive) middle man and stop cutting public services? Or better yet...add the 14K to the poor so and so's salary to make a livable full time wage???

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.


    'Matthew appears to be having a conversation with himself'

    He practising - it's his ATOS assessment tomorrow ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    "we in Wales have zero control over ours [natural resources] and sorry for this you guys in England"
    That's the kind of oddball statement that only nationalists make.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.


    Know one I work with is asking for £25 per hour!! All us less greedy want is a descent rate for a full days work , i.e not £6.19 .

    Most of the young are being asked to work for £2.60 an hour on so called "training" schemes. Who the hell needs "training" at tax payers expense to stack shelves in Asda or stand and look HAPPY at David Camerons best Buddy LORD Simon Wolfson of Next PLc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    If the measure used to gauge the unemployment figure included people who are discouraged from finding work, are marginally attached to a job, or are simply under-employed, then the true unemployment figure would be around 6.5 million people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.


    Interesting you should bring up the whole sanctions issue there with the counting of people on sanctions as being 'off jobseekers'. They've just changed how sanctions work there, instead of it being 2, 4, 6 weeks for repeat infractions. It's 13 weeks, 26 weeks and 3 years instead.

    Makes you wonder, especially when they are known for putting people on it for their mistakes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    308 phosgene

    A do you know what phosgene is

    B millibland knows that what matters is not jobs , the economy , welfare or the NHS.
    Its re election using whatever lies or dirty tactics he can .

    Just look at all the labour plants on here putting out negative messages about good news .

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    The reality is Comrades, that we know these figures will not convert into consumer confidence, we know these figures will not convert into more Mortgages and we know these figures will not convert into more construction.
    No today will convert into more tax credits for poorly paid jobs, and more money for the slumlords who house the poorly paid sods who have contributed to todays fudged statistic

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.


    The Tories have insulted



    The Police

    The Armed Forces


    The whole Public Sector

    Etc Etc

    Can't wait for 2015, a landslide Labour victory, Cameron out Boris in, making them even more unelectable. Lib dems sent back to the hole they crawled out of. Good times indeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Matthew appears to be having a conversation with himself.


  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    Eastern European kids - many of whom are cultured and well-educated, and all of whom are polite - will take humble jobs here in order to get a start. Many of our children lack these qualities yet still turn their noses up at jobs of this sort. When you read the sneery BBC comments on the recent fall in unemployment ('part-time'. 'low wage' etc) you begin to see why.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    291 exstory

    Truly sorry you find yourself back to square one :(

    I'm due to retire soon, but will likely continue working as long as my employer will let me. I've seen too many good cards fall in our business over the years - hard working men and women, but am old enough and daft enough to know that pessimism is like a virus that pulls ambition, hope and self-belief through the floor. Good luck

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    Many are part time and hardly above the benefit rate. The Olympic Games and Paralympic provided many jobs. Let's see what September and October are offering. Here in the West Midlands the total unemployed has gone up again as it did last month. The majority of jibs taken are in London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    52 Minutes ago

    At least you guys have control over your natural resources, like the English and the Scottish, we in Wales have zero control over ours and sorry for this you guys in England, but if we welsh had control over our natural resources you would have been paying us for decades for all the water and power you lot receive from us in the midlands and Birmingham.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.


  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    "Give Labour another chance in 2015.."

    Labour won't be getting another chance, in 2015 or at any time. People have sussed Miliband - makes lots of fuss on little issues, has no substance on big issues, had an appalling history when in government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    298. mattmatt81
    "Finger on the pulse there ed"
    The reasons went over your head? OK. Just think about where Dave gets his support...

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    I have just regained employment after some 8 months claiming job seekers allowance which I found the most degrading experience but not because of the staff I hd to meet. I found the staff that I dealt with helpful, polite and caring. Possibly jobcentreplus should empower their staff to be innovative rather than out-sourcing to companies like Ingeous that are private sector profit based


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