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Lowest unemployment rate in a decade

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UK unemployment fell at 5.2% between August and October 2015, its lowest rate in nearly 10 years.

According to the latest labour market figures by the Office for National Statistics, 73.9% of people aged 16-64 were in work, the highest employment rate since 1971.

The number of people unemployed fell by 110,000 to 1.7 million between August and October.

31.30 million people were in work, 207,000 more than for May to July 2015.

There were 22.88 million people working full-time, 3388,000 more than a year ago, while 8.42 million people were working part time, 167,000 more than last year.

Pay for employees increased by 2.4% including bonuses and by 2.0% excluding bonuses.

David Kern, British Chamber of Commerce chief economist, said:

“Overall these figures demonstrate that our flexible and vibrant labour market remains a source of strength for the UK economy.

“While wages are continuing to rise faster than prices, boosting disposable incomes, the slowdown in annual earnings growth will provide more evidence to the Monetary Policy Committee that there is no need to consider any early increase in interest rates.”

Michael Martins, economic analyst at the Institute of Directors raised questions about what the news will mean for wages in 2016, saying:

“In theory, a tightening labour market should mean wage rises. This is the trend we saw throughout 2015. But wage growth has outpaced productivity for much of this year, and in the last few months pay increases have trailed off.

“Since so many jobs are still being created, and young and long-term unemployed people are moving back in to work, these new jobs may simply pay less, dragging down the average figures.”

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