ERSA welcomes the final set of labour market statistics for the year, with unemployment down by over 100,000 and with the rate at 4.8%. Employment did however fall overall by 6,000 this quarter and economic inactivity rose by 76,000. More positively, female employment was up 43,000 this quarter and 229,000 on the year.

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

“Today’s government statistics once again highlight a record breaking year in which unemployment has fallen by over 100,000 and there is now 31.8 million people in work. The Work Programme alone has helped over 500,000 people into sustained employment since it began, which has helped to change lives, communities and businesses across the UK.

“Today’s figures do however also signify a note of caution. The fall in employment by 6,000 over the last quarter underlines that we face increasing uncertainty in the labour market. The Government must therefore ensure that employment support providers are in a position to react appropriately to any potential downturn, while also continuing to invest in improving productivity.”