Press release

Minister welcomes another fall in unemployment

The number of people who are unemployed has fallen again and there are more people in work, according to new official statistics.

The number of people who are unemployed has fallen again and there are more people in work, according to new official statistics published today.

Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, welcomed the figures from the Office for National Statistics which show that unemployment fell 49,000 this quarter to 2.51 million - 110,000 lower than this time last year.

Youth unemployment has also fallen by 49,000 this quarter to 963,000. The figure sits at 648,000 when people in full-time education are excluded from the statistics.

The number of people in employment has also risen by 100,000, with 29.58 million people now in work - up by over half a million compared to the same period last year.

Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, said:

Another rise in employment shows there are jobs out there. We’ll work with people who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and help them get a job.

Unemployment in the UK is well below levels in the Eurozone, the European Union and is lower than in the United States, showing that our welfare reforms are helping the UK compete effectively in the global market place.

The fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, although we’re not complacent about the scale of the challenge still facing us.

We’re working hard to help the long-term unemployed back into a job. That’s why we’ve committed to supporting the hardest-to-help people over a two year period through the Work Programme so that we can help them overcome their barriers to work and get them into sustainable jobs.

The figures also show that the number of people who are classed as inactive - people who are not looking for work - has fallen by 25,000 this quarter, with the number of people inactive due to long term sickness falling by 83,000.

The number of people on the main inactive benefits such as incapacity benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Lone Parent Income Support has fallen to 3 million - the lowest figure in nearly 20 years.

This month the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) rose by 10,100, but the total is still 10,900 lower than a year ago. This reflects that welfare reforms - including the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants and rules on lone parents claiming income support - mean more non-working people are transferring to JSA from other benefits.

Mr Hoban added:

These figures suggest that our welfare reforms are working, with fewer people on long-term sickness benefits and more people either in or looking for work.

The number of UK nationals in work has risen by 455,000 over the last year, accounting for nearly 90% of the total rise in employment.  The employment rate of UK nationals is now 71.9% compared with 68.6% for foreign nationals.

The number of vacancies open at any one time has also risen this quarter to 479,000 - up 16,000 compared to this time last year.

The regional picture is also encouraging with more people in work in the North East, North West, London, Yorkshire and Humber, the West Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland. Unemployment fell in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, the South West and Wales.

Full-time employment is up 51,000 this quarter and the number working part-time rose 49,000. More than 80 per cent of people working part-time do so because it suits their needs.

Notes to Editors:

Background to labour market statistics: November 2012

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers July to September 2012. The claimant count is for October 2012 and the vacancy count for August to October 2012.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

  • 29.58 million people were in work in July to September 2012.
  • The employment level rose 100 thousand on the previous quarter and 513 thousand on the year
  • The employment rate is 71.2%, up 0.2 points on the quarter and up 1.0 points on the year.

ILO unemployment fell this quarter

  • 2.51 million people were ILO unemployed in the July to September 2012 quarter, down 49 thousand on the previous quarter and 110 thousand on the year.
  • The ILO unemployment rate is 7.8%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and down 0.4 points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is down on the quarter and on the year

  • The economic inactivity level is 9.07 million in the July to September 2012 quarter, down 25 thousand on the previous quarter and 285 thousand on the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate is 22.6%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and down 0.7 points on the year.
  • Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 17.0%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and down 0.6 points on the year.

The number of people on JSA rose this month, but the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is improving

  • Claimant unemployment was 1,582 thousand in October 2012, up 10.1 thousand on the month but down 10.9 thousand on the year.
  • The claimant count rate is 4.8%, unchanged on the month and down 0.1 points on the year.
  • The figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including reforms to eligibility for lone parent benefits and re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits.  Both are likely to have added to the JSA caseload between September and October.
  • In the year to February 2012, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 21,000 to 2.56 million. The most recent provisional figure for September 2012 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.495 million.
  • In the year to February 2012, the number of lone parents on income support fell 30,000 to 584,000. The provisional figure for September 2012 is 530,000, suggesting that the level is trending downwards.

The number of redundancies fell and unfilled vacancies are steady

  • There were 128 thousand redundancies in July to September 2012, down 22 thousand on the previous quarter and 19 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’ vacancy survey estimates an average of 479 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to October 2012, up 1 thousand on the previous quarter and 16 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in September 2012 was up by 1.8% over the year

  • Growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up by 1.9% on the year

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