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UK employment has risen to 29.6 million, the highest figure since records began over forty years ago.
Unemployment fell by 82,000 between August and October, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which is helping to dispel fears that Britain is heading towards a triple-dip recession.
The falling rate of unemployment, from 8.0% to 7.8%, marks the biggest fall in a three-month period for 11 years.
The ONS said that unemployment fell to 2.51 million, with the number of out-of-work people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance falling by 3,000 in November.
A fall in public sector jobs was compensated by a healthy rise in private sector opportunities, while many have taken matters into their own hands in the last few years and become self-employed.
There were also promising figures for youth unemployment, with the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds not in full-time education falling by around 12.5%, to 626,000.
Ministers pointed to greater flexibility in the jobs market, with a significant increase in full-time jobs, though analysts have pointed out that continued ‘underemployment’ is limiting the effect of the job surge upon productivity and growth.
Figures released last week showed that industrial output had fallen to its lowest level for 20 years. And the independent Office of Budget Responsibility has predicted that the economy could shrink for the third time since the start of the financial crisis in the last three months of this year.
The mismatch between rising employment and stagnant productivity is also exemplified by low wage growth of 1.8%, which, like savings accounts, fails to match the cost of living.
"Once again these figures show that the private sector is creating far more jobs than are being lost in the public sector,” said the Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban.
“It's a credit to British businesses that they're proving wrong those cynics who claimed the private sector wouldn't be able to step up.
"With unemployment falling again and more people in work, today's figures are very welcome. To see youth unemployment, excluding students, at its lowest level for three and a half years is particularly good news.”
The Government announced that it was extending the Youth Contract wage incentive, which gives employers up to £2,275 if they take on an unemployed young person.
From next week it will be available for employers taking on any 18 to 24 year old in Great Britain who has been claiming benefits for six months.
And from January, a consortium of transport bodies are to provide free bus travel for those who have been unemployed for between 3 and 12 months to help them attend interviews and look for work.
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