Unemployment rates fell by 14,000 to 2.5 million, for the first time in two years, while the number of those in employment rose by 154,000 to 29.7 million. However, 163,000 were included as employed who were on government sponsored training programmes.
More than 580,000 people were counted as employed compared to this time last year. The ONS added that by the end of December there were 29.73 million UK people in employment. Of this, 73 percent were in full time work and the rest working part-time.
The ONS also found that the number of people in the UK claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 12,500 to 1.54 million, while some in work also saw a rise in wages, with the organisation finding total pay – including bonuses – rose by 1.4 percent and regular pay – excluding bonuses – rose by 1.3 percent from the same period in 2011.
In monetary terms this meant that average weekly earnings excluding
bonus payments stood at £445 in December 2012, before taxes and other deductions from gross pay, up from £439 a year earlier.
The statistics also show that youth unemployment increased by 11,000 to 974,000 – the highest rise for a year.
Other figures showed the number of self-employed workers increased by 25,000 to 4.2 million, and the number of people with more than one job increased by 41,000 to 1.1 million.