Jobless numbers in the UK fell by 125,000 to 2.34m in the three months to December 2013, according to the latest estimates. The rate of unemployment was at 7.2%.
The Office for National Statistics [pdf] also said more women were in work than at any time since records began, at just over 14m. Meanwhile, average earnings increased by 1.1% in the year to December, a 0.2% increase on the previous month.
For October to December 2013, 77.1% of men aged from 16 to 64 were in work, up from 76.6% a year earlier and 75.4% two years earlier, but lower than before the 2008-09 downturn. For October to December 2013, 67.2% of women aged from 16 to 64 were in work (the highest figure on record), up from 66.5% a year earlier and 65.4% two years earlier. Chart 2A above shows the employment rates for men and women aged from 16 to 64 since records began in 1971.
The ONS data shows that 193,000 more people were in work between October and December, compared to the previous three months. hat means overall employment now stands at more than 30m, a rate of 72.1%, which is an increase of 0.6% on a year ago.
The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 27,600 in January to 1.22m, its 15th consecutive monthly drop.
According to the ONS, the rate of unemployment in the three months to December fell by 0.4% on the previous quarter, bringing it to 7.2%.
Nick Palmer, the ONS's senior labour market statistician, commented: "The main conclusion that should be drawn from these latest figures is that the rate at which unemployment has been falling is likely to have slowed down."
The number of people in part-time jobs now stands at 1.4m, a fall of 29,000 over the latest quarter, but 46,000 higher than a year ago.
Comparing October to December 2013 with a year earlier:
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