Unemployment has dropped to its lowest rate since 2008 according to official figures, which also show pay continuing to beat inflation.
The jobless rate dropped to 5.8 per cent in the three months to November, according to data released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics.
Pay including bonuses rose 1.7 per cent while pay excluding bonuses climbed 1.8 per cent year-on-year in the three months to November.
Annual pay growth has now outpaced inflation for three consecutive months. Annual inflation was one per cent in November.
There are now 30.8m people in work, up 37,000 from last year as well as 700,000 job vacancies – the highest amount since comparable records began in 2001.
“The latest labour market figures showed that the recovery in real wages is gathering pace,” said economist Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics.
The Prime Minister and Ed Miliband clashed over the new employment figures at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. Labour leader Miliband claimed “families are £1,600 a year worse off,” but the Prime Minister disputed this. He responded that the £1,600 figure “does not include any of the tax reductions that we have put in place again and again under this government.”
Throughout the exchange, Cameron made hay out of the rise in employment, telling Miliband that the Conservatives “are the party who are putting the country back to work, [while] Labour are the party that would put it all at risk.”
Miliband attacked the government for not halting a rise in exec pay, claiming that “while every day people are worse off, executive earnings have gone up by 21 per cent in the last year alone”.
In a confident mood, the Prime Minister quoted International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who had described the UK as “where clearly growth is improving, the deficit has been reduced, and where…unemployment is going down.”