JOBS MARKET figures improved in the final months of 2014 despite economic growth slowing.
There were 30.9m people in work in the period from October to December, according to figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It is 103,000 more than the period July to September and 608,000 more than the same time a year ago.
The employment rate – the percentage of people aged 16 to 64 in work – ticked up to 73.2 per cent, matching the highest level since records began in 1971.
The unemployment rate – the percentage of the labour force not in work – dropped to 5.7 per cent, compared with six per cent three months ago and 7.2 per cent a year ago. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since the summer of 2008.
Average weekly earnings rose by 2.4 per cent on the year to £489 in December, led by a 2.7 per cent jump in private sector pay. Inflation – as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index – was 0.5 per cent in December, according to the ONS. It means real pay – the amount of goods and services that can be purchased with wages – climbed by 1.9 percentage points.