Press release

Employment rate hits record 74.2%

The employment rate in the UK has hit another record high of 74.2%, and there are more people in work than ever before.

Department for Work and Pensions

Latest official figures show the employment rate is at its highest since records began in 1971. Official figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show there are now 31.58 million people in work – a growth driven by full-time employment – and the unemployment rate remains at 5.1%, the lowest in a decade and below recession levels.

Employment rate has risen to a new record high of 74.2%

The employment rate for women is the highest since 1971 at 69.2%.

Average wages before bonuses grew 2.1% over the last year and there are around 745,000 vacancies available in the jobs market.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb said:

These are another record-breaking set of figures, with more people in work than ever before and the unemployment rate is the lowest in a decade at 5.1%.

More people in work means that more families across the UK are benefiting from the security of a regular wage and the fulfilment that employment brings.

But the job is not done, which is why our welfare reforms, such as Universal Credit, are making sure that it always pays to be in work.

The latest labour market statistics also show:

  • average wages before bonuses up 2.1% compared with last year
  • the proportion of people who are economically inactive – those not in work or looking for employment – has never been lower at 21.7%
  • the claimant count rate remains at the lowest since 1975 at 2.1%
  • there are 26.2 million people employed in the private sector – 575,000 more than a year earlier

More information

Read the Labour Market Statistics – May 2016 from the Office for National Statistics.

Contact Press Office

Media enquiries for this press release – 0203 267 5144

Press Office

Caxton House
Tothill Street


Follow DWP on:

Published 18 May 2016