Unemployment sees steepest fall in 40 years

The number of unemployed workers is below 2 million for the first time since 2008, meaning there are now half a million fewer unemployed people than one year ago.

The unemployment rate currently stands at 6% compared to 7.7% a year ago.

Esther McVey, employment minister, said: “All of our reforms are focussed on helping people into work and today’s record figures show that the government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is proving successful.

“Behind the record figures there are countless individual stories of people turning their lives around, of families who are now feeling more secure with a regular wage, and of young people escaping unemployment and building a career.”

There are now a record 30.76 million people in work, while 2 million are in public sector jobs.

Wages excluding bonuses were up 0.9% on the year, while private sector wages rose by 1.2%.

The financial services sector saw bonuses fall by 5%.

Job vacancies rose by up 130,000 over the past year, bringing the number of vacancies in the UK economy to 674,000.