Employment figures just released by the Office for National Statistics, for the period from October to December 2012, show the largest annual rise in employment in over two decades.
The number of people in work for this period rose by 154,000 compared to the previous quarter, taking the total number of people employed in the UK to 29.7 million. Employment has risen by 880,000 since the 2010 General Election.
Youth employment has also risen. There are 3.7 million 16-24 year-olds now in employment. This is an increase of 29,000 on the previous quarter. The number of young people claiming out-of-work benefits is now lower than it was at the time of the last general election.
The number of people of all ages claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance also fell in January by 12,500 – taking the total number of claimants to 1.54 million. Since the general election, the overall number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by over 230,000.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said of today’s employment figures:
"The fall in long-term unemployment is particularly welcome and shows that the training and support we are offering is helping people move off benefits and into work.
"These figures show another big increase in full-time jobs, half a million more British people in work over the past year and more women in employment than ever before.
"The UK is now ahead of many its international rivals when it comes to cutting unemployment and creating jobs which is so important as we compete in a global race."