UK unemployment has fallen by 102,000 to 1.86m in the three months to January, official figures show. The unemployment rate remains at 5.7% but the number of people in work is at an all-time high, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance also fell to 791,200, its lowest level since 2008. Average earnings in the three months to January, including bonuses, rose 1.8% compared with a year earlier. Regular pay, which excludes bonus payments, rose by 1.6%, in the same period compared with a year ago. It means earnings continue to outstrip consumer price index (CPI) inflation, which official figures showed fell to a record low of 0.3% in January.
The employment rate now stands at 73.3%, the highest rate of people in work since the ONS began keeping records in 1971. However, the number of young people out of work has stayed stubbornly high. The ONS said the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work fell by just 12,000 in the three months to January, to 743,000 – a rate of 16.2%.