UK employment hits record high

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The UK employment rate hit a record of high of 73.9 per cent between August and October, Office for National Statistics figures show.

The proportion of people between 16 and 64 in work is at its highest level since comparable records began in 1971.

There are 31.3 million people in work, 207,000 more than from May to July 2015 and 505,000 more than the same period last year.

In addition, the unemployment rate was 5.2 per cent, down from 6 per cent last year. It is at its lowest level since January 2006.

Pay, excluding bonuses, increased by 2 per cent between August and October, compared to the same period in 2014.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development chief economist Mark Beatson says: “Today’s statistics suggest that job growth in the UK has well and truly recovered, following what seemed to be a pause earlier in the year. Employment has increased by half a million and it’s encouraging to see the unemployment rate continuing to fall.

“It now stands at 5.2 per cent, which is below the level that many commentators had regarded as sustainable. But wage growth remains subdued, and this makes it less likely that we will see interest rates increase during 2016.

“With very low inflation, the average pay packet is still increasing in real terms, but this will only be sustainable if productivity increases. This will require organisations to invest in technology, new systems and their workforce.”