The latest employment data from the Office for national Statistics shows employment up and unemployment down.

There were 29.95 million people in employment aged 16 and over, which is up 177,000 from April to June 2013 and up 378,000 an a year ago.

The employment rate for those age 16 to 64 was 71.8%, which is up 0.3 percent from April to June 2013 and up 0.6 percent from a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for the economically active was 0.2 percent down on April to june 2013 at 7.6 percent and the number of unemployed 16-64 year olds had decreased 69,000 to 8.92 million, which is 149,000 lower than a year ago.

Nida Ali, economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, commented:

Today’s strong figures for the labour market show a sharp increase in employment and fall in unemployment on both the ILO measure and the claimant count. The labour market momentum has picked up further, supporting other strong economic indicators over the past couple of months.

But, these figures will put pressure on the Bank due to expectations of an earlier interest rate rise. The single month estimate of unemployment has fallen to 7.1%, only 0.1ppt away from the 7% forward guidance threshold. The Bank's expectation of unemployment falling to 7% only by mid-2016 now looks very conservative and we will probably see a significant improvement in the forecast in today's Inflation Report.

As yet, higher employment appears to be putting no upward pressure on wages. At just 0.8%, earnings growth is still lagging well behind the 2.2% inflation rate so the squeeze on households is yet to ease. However rising employment and a shortage of skills, as confirmed by the latest CBI survey, should allow workers to bargain for better wages as the labour market strengthens.

Sasha Nugent, Caxton FX analyst, said: 

Another upside surprise from UK claimant count numbers, supporting a firmer pound after yesterday’s inflation figures. Evidence showing the recovery is feeding through into the labour market is finally beginning to show with the number of people in work rising by 177k. The problem of living standard however remains, and until we see the improvement in the labour market feed through to workers, the benefits of higher employment will be limited.

Commenting on the latest official labour market data, showing that employment rose by 177,000 and unemployment fell by 48,000 in the three months to September Neil Carberry, CBI Director of Employment and Skills, said:

"Further signs of recovery can clearly be seen in these jobs figures. Unemployment is falling faster and businesses have taken on 124,000 more employees in full-time work.

"It is really pleasing to see more regions benefiting from job creation.

"It's clear that pay restraint is continuing to underpin employment growth. We expect wages to pick up next year, but sustained growth must come first to protect jobs.”

People -

People –

Nawaz Ali, UK Market Analyst at Western Union Business Solutions said:

A stronger-than-expected economic recovery has fed expectations that Carney will have to bring forward that expected timeline which has proved bullish for sterling.”

Tom Lovell, Group Managing Director of specialist recruiter, REED, commenting yesterday said:

The jobs market is really starting to pick up now, with the latest REED figures showing an 8 per cent month-on-month increase in the number of vacancies filled in October. This is a clear reflection of a boost to business confidence as organisations look towards growth as the recovery gathers pace. Candidates are also feeling encouraged by recent economic positivity, reflected in a 9 percent increase in the number of job interviews attended in October compared to the same time last year.

The growing confidence was also seen right across the board in the most recent Reed Job Index, which showed a rise in job opportunities in every sector and every region for the first time ever in the index’ four year history.”

But TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"Britain's workforce is getting larger but poorer.

"It is encouraging that more jobs are being created but job quality is falling and close to a 20-year low. A record number of people are stuck in part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, while real wages continue to shrink fast despite falling inflation.

"We need better jobs and healthier pay rises to tackle to the living standards crisis and ensure that the full benefits of recovery reach working people."

According to the TUC's jobs quality index launched this morning, job quality has fallen again and is close to its lowest point in the last 20-years.

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