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 526.

    Same old same old.

    250,000 full time jobs go, 500,000 part time / zero hour jobs created

    So more are in the race to the bottom on hours and conditions.

    This is job creation coalition style.

  • rate this

    Comment number 525.

    People who say they have applied for numerous jobs, attended many interviews and then failed to acquire a position in their chosen field probably says more about the person concerned than it does the actual employment market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 524.

    @511.Boro Jonesy
    The issue is we're boosting banks reserves at the expense of the tax payer with QE. Repeat until bankrupt!

    doesn't work like that, QE swaps long term assets (primarily gilts) for cash so bank reserves stay the same, they just become cash rich instead of assset rich. Any "money surplus" is destroyed at the end of the process so the long term money supply is constant

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    "1.57 million people claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in September, a fall of 4,000 on the previous month."

    How many of those 4'000 who stopped claiming JSA in the last month found a full time job on or above the minimum wage ?

    Can we have this stat please Mr Cameron ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    14.Adam said:"Anyway, this is very good news and has restored some of my confidence in the government."

    Just after this example of how to prove anything with statistical manipulation headlined on the BBC 6-o'clocker, they turned to our local news detailing how one more company had gone bust and yet another were making further redundancies. No green shoots for those folk, eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    This is so hyped up but it's the highest for this year... That's barely scratching the surface of this big problem. Make young people more employable. the market has been crushed by the changes to education. I have been volunteering since coming out of university because people are no longer looking for potential, they look for experience. How can anyone afford university with no job at the end.

  • rate this

    Comment number 520.

    For all those questioning the validity of the figures, may I remind you that the ONS is completely independent from the government! Unemployment rate is not the same as JSA claimants (there is a big overlap naturally)
    If you want to know the methodology used to calculate the unemployment rate, please check here:

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.


    Did you realise that the first step on the path to being a surveyor or architect is a BA? Obviously not. Good night ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    Dear Engineer Neil (506)

    Forgive me if this sounds sycophantic, but I feel a need to say 'hello' to the one person on here at this time of night with common sense.

    In that well worn phrase, we mustn't let the buggers get us down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    Check next months statistics (or the ones after that) and you will probably see a very different picture. The govt are getting upto all kinds of dirty tricks I have heard they have taken to not telling people on income ESA when they need to go on ordinary ESA so that they don't realise, fall of the statistics and lose afew weeks of benefits. This is how our great country behaves now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    'Unemployed' is meaningless without knowing what 'employed' amounts to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.

    @510 "I just finished a BA degree"

    Ohhhh a BA. I wouldn't consider yourself overqualified if I were you. We called that a CSE when I was at school. I hope your degree is in something useful like social anthrapology.

    Goodnight :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    A lot of the unemployed no longer on the register have deserted the sinking ship. Some have gone back "home" with the savings they made here as "immigrants"

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    Dear Dragon (507)

    It must be so comforting to know that you are right, and that the official statisticians with all their actual data are wrong. The only thing that baffles me is why they haven't offered you a job, to correct their own embarrassingly inaccurate figures.

    Has it ever occurred to you and your cohort that your individual experience might not be the foundation stone of all truth?

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.

    ESA is only paid for 1 (one) year if the claimant is married, and their partner works for more than 16 hrs pw.

    After that, you're on your own

    My guess is a heap of people who claimed a year prior to the report just ran out of benefits, and so dropped off the system
    Couple this with only part time jobs being available, and it's blindingly obvious that this country's government is totally failing

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    @505: Yes I totally agree with you, putting 2k in the hands idiots directly will only drive fag and booze prices up. I mean cuts or grants on productive things, in particular we need to get building moving so why not slash VAT on building materials? The car scrappage scheme was successful.

    The issue is we're boosting banks reserves at the expense of the tax payer with QE. Repeat until bankrupt!

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    506. Engineer Neil. Don't call you ignorant? So what exactly is you r huge expreience 2 occassions? As I said I just finished a BA degree, and even when I was a Psychiatric Nurse they gave the "overqualified line" unless I applied to jobs at least requiring a few O levels! Thats the truth. You will find few get income support. I get ESA at £71. Less in inflation terms than your 30 quid!

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    To Dr Smart (494) and friends...

    I'm thrilled to hear that you moved to Canada. If all those Brits who spend their time bleating about how awful it is here were to do the same, this country would be an even nicer place in which to live.

    Today the bleaters are arguing that interns and part time workers should be seen as 'unemployed.' Bizarre. Is there room for them in Canada, do you think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    Get real people,read your History.
    History should and does tell us, that this and previous governments will 'feather their own nest's'.
    Conservative's (coalition) are doin'g it now and the Liberal/conservative, Etonion debating society are allowing it to happen, as dare we say a social experiment.
    A product of a elitist University debate.
    This is the World we have always lived in.
    Animal Farm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    This is total rubbish, the figure has not fallen at all. Its just a fact that people are being told, that you can no longer claim benefits, while looking for work. The system means that people like me has to struggle on just 1 wage coming into the house hold and not showing up on the system as out of work...

    Believe what you will however the figure is going up not down.


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