Press release

UK employment rate hits a record high while unemployment plummets to pre-recession levels

The UK has its highest ever employment rate of 74% with a record 31.4 million people in work.

Department for Work and Pensions

Today’s official figures show that over the last year more than half-a-million more people are now in work, bringing employment to a new record high of 31.4 million. This growth has been driven by a rise in full-time jobs.

Employment rate rises to 74%

Wages have continued to grow strongly, 2% over the last year, and the number of vacancies has reached more than 750,000, showing the wealth of opportunities that are being created in the economy.

Unemployment now stands at 5.1% – the lowest since early 2006 – and long-term unemployment has fallen by 25% over the year to 488,000, the lowest in 6 years.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said:

This is a record-breaking set of figures – and has got 2016 off to a fantastic start.

There are now more people in work than ever before and wages are growing – a credit to hardworking Brits and businesses alike. And in a further demonstration of the strength of the UK labour market, today’s figures show there are a record three quarters of a million vacancies.

As a one nation government we will build on this throughout the coming year – doubling childcare for working parents and introducing the new National Living Wage – ensuring that everyone has increased financial security and the opportunity to get on and succeed in life.

The landmark set of figures have also shown:

  • the number of women in work is up over a million since 2010 to new record high of 14.66 million
  • the proportion of young people who have left full-time education and are out of work has fallen to a record low of 14.1%
  • the employment rate for young people who have left full-time education continues to rise – up to 74.6%, which remains the highest in over a decade
One million more women in work since 2010

A separate set of figures, also out today, show over 300,000 people have now made a claim to Universal Credit – with almost 7,000 new claims being made to the revolutionary new benefit every week.

More information

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

Contact Press Office

Media enquiries for this press release – 0203 267 5111

Press Office

Caxton House
Tothill Street


Follow DWP on:

Published 20 January 2016