UK unemployment has continued to fall, while the average wage increased at the fastest pace since mid-2013. The unemployment rate now stands at 5.7 per cent of the working population.
James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors (IoD), said wages would continue to rise as competition for talent intensified.
David Cameron has hailed news that Britain’s employment rate is at the joint highest level since records began in 1971 as evidence that the economy is strengthening. Cameron said: “I’m not saying we have solved all our problems in the British economy in the last four and a half years, but we are on our way.”
Unemployment rates in the UK fell by 97,000 to 1.86 million in the three months to December 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
ONS also stated that the record employment rate for women, at 68.5 per cent, partly reflected the increase in the state pension age, “resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65”.
However, the unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds was 16.2 per cent, which was unchanged on the previous quarter.
London has the highest number of people out of work. The South West has the lowest at 45 per cent, where the number of unemployed fell by 7,000 to 122,000.