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Unemployment in the UK has fallen surprisingly as the jobless rate dropped to 7.9% in the three months to August, levels last seen 15 months ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported on Wednesday.
The number of unemployed people decreased by 50,000 in the period to 2.53 million with the unemployment rate falling from 8.1% to 7.9%. Unemployment was highest in the North East at 9.9% and lowest in the South West where the jobless rate reached 5.8%
Employment levels also reached a record high in the three months as the number of people in full-time employment was up by 88,000 taking the toll to a total of 29.590 million.
The number of people in employment has not been higher since comparable records began in 1971, but the employment rate of 71.3% is still lower than the pre-recession peak of 73.0%.
Employment was highest in the East of England and the South West at 74.6%, and lowest in the North East at 67.9%.
Wage growth also improved as average earnings rose by +1.7% in the three months to August, but this is still below the rate of inflation at 2.2%.
“While the long-term state of the economy is still unclear, today’s labour market figures are positive and may signal the UK jobs market is finally turning a corner,” said Neil Owen, Global Practice Director at Robert Half International.