Press release

Unemployment rate remains at lowest level in over a decade

The labour market has finished a record breaking year with unemployment down by over 100,000 people and the rate running at 4.8%.


There continues to be 31.8 million people in work, up by 2.7 million since 2010.

The number of women in work is at a record high of almost 15 million and long term unemployment is down by 31,000 since July.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green said:

This year will be remembered as one when so many records were made – employment has consistently been running at an all-time high with more women, older workers and ethnic minority groups in work than ever before.

Encouragingly, this good news was extended right across the UK.

But there is more to do to help people of all backgrounds and abilities into work, which will remain a priority as we press ahead with our welfare reforms that are ensuring it always pays to be in work.

The unemployment rate has remained at an 11-year low of 4.8%

Today’s figures also show:

  • long-term unemployment has fallen to 418,000 and is the lowest it has been since 2008, down 31,000 on the quarter
  • youth unemployment is 587,000, a fall of 350,000 since 2010

Separate figures, also out today, have revealed that over 850,000 claims have been made to Universal Credit. Of the 420,000 people now receiving Universal Credit, 41% are in work.

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

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Published 14 December 2016
Last updated 14 December 2016 + show all updates
  1. Changed graphic to read "The unemployment rate has remained at an 11-year low of 4.8%" (instead of "dropped to").
  2. First published.