ERSA welcomes the latest set of labour market statistics for August to October 2016, with unemployment down by over 55,000 and with the rate at 4.8% – the lowest for over a decade. Employment did however fall overall by 9,000 this quarter and economic inactivity rose by 85,000. More positively, long-term unemployment has fallen to 407,000, its lowest level since 2008.

Sam Windett, ERSA’s Head of Policy and Communications, said:

“Today’s statistics underline a record breaking year for employment levels and with 31.8 million people in work, the unemployment rate is at its lowest for over a decade. Since its inception, the Work Programme alone has helped over 500,000 people into sustained employment – changing lives, communities and businesses across the UK.

“As the Work Programme comes to the end of its referrals in April 2017, the low levels of long-term unemployment are a testament to the scale and efforts of specialist employment support providers working at the front line. It is therefore disappointing that the Government has dramatically cut funding for specialist support from April, failing to recognise the success it has produced in communities across the UK.”