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Unemployment Level continues to Fall

The latest data from The Office for National Statistics shows that unemployment in the UK fell by 60,000 between October and December to 1.69m, leaving the rate of unemployment unchanged at 5.1%, maintaining a decade-low rate. More than 31.4m people are in work, the highest figure since records began in 1971. But ONS statistician Nick Palmer said that growth in people’s earnings was still slow.  ”While the employment rate continues to hit new highs and there are more job vacancies than ever previously recorded, earnings growth remains subdued and markedly below the recent peak of mid-2015,” Mr Palmer said.  Pay increased by 2.0% during the period, very similar to the growth rate between September to November 2014 and September to November 2015, which was 1.9%.  The number of Britons in work increased by 278,000 in the three months to the end of December, to 28.28m, while for non-UK nationals, the figure rose by 254,000 to 3.22m. The economically inactive rate for women fell to 27.2%, a record low.  Wales, the North East and the North West of England recorded the largest drops in the rate of unemployment, all falling more than half a percentage point.  The North East of England still has the highest rate of unemployment, at 8.1%, and the South West of England the lowest, at 3.7%.  There were 5.35m people employed in the public sector in September 2015, according to ONS, down 59,000 on a year earlier. It is the lowest figure since comparable records began in 1999, the ONS says.