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UK unemployment rate lowest since 1975

Press Association logoPress Association 15/03/2017

The UK's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest since the summer of 1975, with a record number of people in work.

But the jobs boom has also seen a record number of workers employed on zero-hours contracts in their main job.

Workers on the controversial contracts increased by 101,000 in the last quarter of 2016 to 905,000 compared with the previous year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said those on zero-hours contracts were more likely to be young, women, part-time or in full-time education.

Other figures published on Wednesday showed that unemployment fell by 31,000 in the three months to January, to 1.58 million, the lowest for a decade, giving a jobless rate of 4.7 per cent, the lowest since the summer of 1975.

Almost 32 million people are now in work, a jump of 92,000 over the quarter and 315,000 compared with a year earlier.

The number of people on the claimant count, including Jobseeker's Allowance and those on Universal Credit required to seek work, fell by 11,300 last month to 734,700, the lowest since May 1975.

Average earnings increased by 2.2 per cent in the year to January, down by 0.4 per cent on the previous month.

David Freeman, senior statistician at the ONS, said: "With the unemployment rate last lower in summer 1975 and the employment rate still at a record high, the labour market remains robust.

"But smaller wage increases and higher inflation mean the growth in real earnings has slowed sharply in recent months."

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