Jobless total at 10-year low but employment growth slowing

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Unemployment has fallen to a 10-year low, but there are signs that the jobs market might be "cooling", official figures showed.

The jobless total was cut by 37,000 in the quarter to September to 1.6 million, the lowest since 2006, giving an unemployment rate of 4.8%.

The number of people in work has jumped by 461,000 over the past year to a near-record high of just under 32 million.

The employment rate of 74.5% is the highest since records began in 1971.

But the claimant count increased by 9,800 in September to 803,300, the third consecutive monthly rise.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also reported that the EU referendum had so far had little impact on the number of EU workers in the UK labour force.

The number of non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 241,000 over the past year to 3.4 million.

The figure has risen by almost a million since 1997, with the proportion of non-UK nationals working in the UK increasing from 3.7% to 10.9%.

There were 2.3 million EU nationals working in the UK in the latest quarter, up by 232,000 on a year ago, but lower than the increase on the previous year.

Other data from the ONS showed that average earnings increased by 2.3% in the year to October, unchanged from the previous month.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: "Unemployment is at its lowest for more than 10 years and the employment rate remains at a record high.

"Nonetheless, there are signs that the labour market might be cooling, with employment growth slowing."

Job vacancies have increased by 12,000 to 757,000, while the latest figures also showed a record 14.8 million women are in work.

Full-time employment has increased by 350,000 over the past year to 23.2 million, while the number of part-time workers has risen by 110,000 to 8.5 million.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sick leave or who have given up looking for work, increased by 49,000 to 8.8 million.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: "Yet again we have a strong set of figures, with employment continuing to run at a record high and unemployment falling to an 11-year low.

"Growth is being fuelled by full-time professional jobs while wages are continuing to perform strongly, which underlines the resilience of the UK labour market.

"The measures we have taken have put our economy in a position of strength, and we will work to ensure more people can benefit from these opportunities as we build a country that works for everyone."

The Government also highlighted figures showing that youth unemployment is down by almost 350,000 since 2010, while the number of disabled people in work has increased by 590,000 in the past three years.