The latest employment figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that, comparing the three months from March to May with those of June to August, the numbers of those in employment rose by 46,000 and unemployment fell by 154,000.

In the three months to August the total number of people employed was 30.76 million, 736,000 more than the same period a year ago.

The employment rate (for those aged 16-64) was 73 percent, up on March to May’s figure of 72.9 percent and last year’s 71.5 percent.

There are now 538,000 fewer people unemployed than a year ago, the largest annual fall on record. The unemployment rate has now fallen to 6 percent, the lowest since late 2008 says the ONS.

On a three monthly basis the number of economically inactive people aged 16-64 rose to 9.03 million, but it is still lower than a year ago.

Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“Today's fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but the new figures show working people are continuing to see their pay fall far behind the cost-of-living.

“Working people have seen their real wages fall by over £1,600 a year since 2010. The Government’s failure to act on low pay has led to millions of people struggling to get by, huge additional costs in Housing Benefit and Tax Credits paid to those in work, and the OBR warning about the impact on the public finances.

“That’s why Chuka Umunna and I will call on the Government to adopt Labour’s plan to raise the national minimum wage to £8 during a debate in Parliament on low pay later today. This is an important part of Labour’s economic plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and ensure we earn our way to higher living standards for all, not just a few at the top.”

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said:

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“This is another strong quarter for the labour market, with unemployment falling to its lowest level in six years.

“Overall employment growth has slowed, but it’s encouraging that we are seeing a renewed rise in people finding work with an employer, rather than in self-employment.

“Whilst pay growth has risen, it remains sluggish, reflecting persistently weak productivity. All politicians need to look beyond short-term headlines to policies that will boost skills and productivity, underpinning the ability of firms to pay more in future.”

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has stated that the latest Labour Market statistics from the ONS prove that the fundamental shift in the way Britain works is here to stay.
The ONS figures released today show that the number of people choosing to become self-employed has increased by 6.6%, outstripping the 1.9% growth in traditional employment.

Chris Bryce, Chief Executive of IPSE, said:

"Today's figures show that self-employment is growing at more than three times the rate of traditional employment. This is proof that the rise in self-employment is here to stay as Britain gets back to work.

"People from all walks of life are choosing to leave the 9-5 behind and take control of their own destiny. From young people straight from university to parents who want to balance work around family life, being your own boss has never been more popular.

"Decision-makers must now respond to this change. Microbusinesses are the engine of the UK's economy and they need decisive action in problem areas such as inappropriate and unnecessarily complicated tax laws like IR35, late payment, poor broadband and a lack of affordable office space to work from. Help Britain's smallest businesses flourish and UK plc will reap the rewards."

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The real value of wages has fallen again this month. This is not only the longest and deepest pay cut on record but there is no end in sight.

“Detailed analysis of the figures show that even the cash increase in pay was entirely due to the finance and business sectors.

“With these never ending falls in living standards and so many new jobs insecure, low-paid and self-employed, Britain’s workers have been excluded from the recovery.

“It is time to share out the proceeds of growth by creating good jobs and giving people a decent wage increase. Ten of thousands will be joining the TUC’s march on Saturday to say Britain needs a pay rise.”

Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, commented:

“Despite record employment rates, the traditional relationship between more people in work and faster pay growth still shows little sign of being re-established. Real pay continues to drop, carrying on the trend that began six years ago. Weak pay is bad news for household budgets, but also for the levels of income tax receipts and the UK’s fiscal position.

“However, the long-awaited recovery in productivity may be finally under way. Employment rose by a modest 0.1% in the three months to August, while hours worked saw no change. Our estimate of GDP growth at 0.8% over the same period implies output per worker is picking up and, as pay rises are still very weak, unit labour costs should fall. Overall, a sustainable and low-inflation expansion should remain on track.”

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