Press release

Record drop in unemployment and more people in private sector jobs

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance is now below 1 million and unemployment has seen the largest annual fall in 25 years.

The number of people claiming the main unemployment benefit – Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – has now dropped below 1 million, and unemployment has seen the largest annual fall in a quarter of a century, figures published today (17 September 2014) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant count

Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count

Source: Office for National Statistics, Department for Work and Pensions

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

Creating jobs is central to building a stronger, more resilient and stable economy. With millions more people in private sector employment under this government, it is clear that our long-term economic plan is helping Britain to recover following one of the deepest recessions in living memory.

All of our reforms are focused on helping people off benefits and into work – giving people the peace of mind and security that comes with a steady income. With the number of people claiming the main unemployment benefit down below 1 million for the first time in 6 years, we are helping people to break free from welfare dependency, look after themselves and their families, and play their part in getting our country back to work.

Today’s figures also show a continued growth in private sector employment – up by almost 800,000 in the last year alone. Compared to 2010 there are now over 2.16 million more people in private sector jobs – showing that the government’s long-term economic plan to create jobs by backing businesses is working.

Unemployment saw the largest annual fall in 26 years, dropping by 468,000, which brings the unemployment rate to a new 6-year low of 6.2%. The employment rate, at 73%, is also back up to the level seen before the recession with 30.61 million people in work.

The number claiming (JSA) has been falling for the last 22 months – with 423,600 fewer claimants than a year ago – and is now below 1 million for the first time since 2008.

Young people saw the largest annual fall in unemployment since records began in 1984 – falling by 213,000 on the year – and has been dropping for the last year. There are now fewer young people claiming the main unemployment benefit (JSA) than just before the recession – having dropped by 133,200 in the past year and for 33 months in a row.

Schemes like the government’s Work Programme have contributed to the largest drop in long-term unemployment since 1998 – falling by 175,000 on the year.

Local information

International Comparisons

Over the last year the UK has seen the largest growth in employment and the largest fall in unemployment in the G7.


Job vacancies rose again, up 137,000 over the past year bringing the number of vacancies in the UK economy to 673,000.

Young People

The employment rate for young people who have left full-time education is 71.5% – which is up 4.3 points since 2010 and over the last year, youth employment in the UK has grown faster than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average. In the 3 months to March 2014, the UK saw the fastest fall in youth unemployment out of the G7. Eighty four per cent of 16 to 24 year olds are now in full-time study or work – up from 81% in 2010 – which brings down the number of unemployed young people not in full-time education to 489,000.


There are also record numbers of women in work with the UK having seen the fastest growth in the number of women in work in the last year out of all G7 economies. Nearly 40% of the annual rise in female employment was in managers, senior officials or professional occupations. Of those women working part-time, nearly 90% have chosen to work part-time because it suits them – for example they want to fit work around caring responsibilities or for other reasons such as being a student. The proportion of women working part-time who want full-time work (12.4%) is falling – the latest figures saw the largest annual fall since 1999.

Over the last year every region and nation in the UK has seen a fall in unemployment.

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