The Government has hailed an “important milestone” after figures showed record employment and another huge fall in the number of people out of work.
More than 30 million people are in a job, an increase of almost one million over the past year, the best figures since records began in 1971, while unemployment has fallen by 121,000 to 2.12 million, the lowest since the end of 2009.
In Yorkshire the number of unemployed fell by 16,000.
David Cameron told the Commons that 1.8 million more people were in work than when the coalition came to power.
“That is a record to be proud of,” the Prime Minister said. “We have reached an important milestone, with more people in work than ever before in our history.”
Business leaders said the figures showed the resilience of the labour market, proving that the economic recovery was well under way.
But unions pointed to other figures showing that average earnings increased by just 0.3 per cent in the year to May – the lowest since 2009 – saying “serious questions” had to be asked about the quality of jobs being created.
Other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 36,300 in June to 1.04 million, the 20th consecutive monthly fall and the lowest total since 2008.
More than 4.5 million people were self-employed, the highest since records began in 1992, after an increase of 404,000 over the past year. Long-term and youth unemployment have both continued to fall and there was a drop in the number of people in a part-time job wanting full-time work – down by 61,000 to 1.3 million.
Job vacancies were up by 30,000 to 648,000, an increase of more than 100,000 on a year ago, but 48,000 fewer than the pre-recession peak at the start of 2008.
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “With one of the highest employment rates ever, it’s clear that the Government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is the right one.
“We know there is more to do, and the best way to do so is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.”
Comment: Page 12.