A RECORD number of people are in work after another fall in unemployment and a drop in numbers claiming jobseeker’s allowance, official figures have revealed.
Almost 30m adults were in a job in the quarter to last November – up by more than half a million on the previous year.
The figure, which giving an employment rate of 71%, is the highest since 1971.
Unemployment fell by 37,000 in the latest quarter to just under 2.5m, the lowest since spring, 2011.
It was the 10th consecutive fall and was coupled with another cut in the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance, which was down by 12,100 last month to 1.56m, the lowest since June, 2011.
The claimant count in Huddersfield fell by 52 during December to stand at 3,973 while the Colne Valley tally was down by 54 at 2,588. However, the figure for Dewsbury last month rose by 85 to 2,899.
The quarterly unemployment figure for Yorkshire fell by about 12,000 to 241,000 or 8.8% of the workforce.
The national figures showed that the number of people classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a relative or who have given up looking for a job, fell by 13,000 to just over 9m.
Part-time employment fell by 23,000, but this was offset by a 113,000 rise in the numbers employed full-time in the three months to November.
Data from the Office for National Statistics also showed a 26,000 increase in the number of women out of work for up to six months, to reach 571,000, which may reflect changes to the benefits system resulting in more single mothers looking for work.
The number of job vacancies in the economy increased by 10,000 to almost half a million at the end of last year, the highest number for four years.
Other figures showed the number of self-employed workers rose by 7,000 to 4.2m.
Long-term unemployment has also fallen – down by 10,000 to 434,000 for those out of work for more than two years and by 5,000 to 892,000 for people unemployed for at least a year.
Employment minister Mark Hoban said the UK employment rate was growing at almost double the rate in the US and faster than any other G7 country.
He said: "These are very positive figures showing employment rising for 15 months and despite difficult economic circumstances, unemployment is lower than when this Government took office."
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Any fall must be welcome, but progress is still painfully slow for the 2.49m people still desperately looking for a job."
He said there was no room for complacency – as the government had announced more than 5,000 cuts to Army personnel and the jobs of many thousands of public sector workers were under threat from council budget cuts."