Press release

Unemployment rate at 11-year low

The unemployment rate has remained at an 11-year low of just 4.8% – down by more than 900,000 since 2010.


The Office for National Statistics has confirmed that employment continues to run at a near-record high rate of 74.5%, with 31.8 million people in work – an increase of over 2.7 million since 2010.

There are 294,000 more people in work compared to this time last year.

The rise in employment continues to be driven by full-time work, which is up by 2 million since 2010. And long-term unemployment is the lowest it has been since 2008.

Average wages excluding bonuses grew by 2.7% over the last year, as the claimant count remained at 2.3%, close to its lowest rate since 1975.

Employment has risen by more than 290,000 over the year to a near record 31.8 million.

Employment Minister, Damian Hinds, said:

We start the new year with another encouraging set of figures. Employment continues to run at a near-record high, unemployment remains at an 11-year low and both figures are stronger than this time last year – highlighting the strength and resilience of our labour market as we step up to the challenges of 2017.

We have made real progress creating a strong economy and helping more people into work, and will do what is needed to continue that trajectory as we build a country that works for everyone.

Today’s figures also show:

  • youth unemployment is down by over 360,000 since 2010 and the lowest in 11 years
  • long-term unemployment is the lowest since mid-2008

A separate set of official statistics released today show the latest number of claims to Universal Credit. The statistics show that 900,000 claims had been made to Universal Credit up to 8 December, with an average of 13,000 new claims per week in the preceding 4 weeks. Of those on Universal Credit at 8 December, 43% were in work.

More information

Read the Labour Market Statistics – January 2017 from the Office for National Statistics.

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Published 18 January 2017