Record 32.7 million people in work as jobless rate falls to 3.9%

Record numbers of people are in work, while the UK’s jobless rate has fallen below 4% for the first time since 1975, new figures show.

Average earnings increased by 3.4% in the year to January, down by 0.1% on the previous month but still outpacing inflation.

Employment increased by 222,000 in the quarter to January to 32.7 million, the highest since records began in 1971, reported the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Unemployment fell by 35,000 to 1.34 million, 112,000 lower than a year ago, giving a jobless rate of 3.9%, well below the EU average of 6.5%.

The number of economically inactive people fell by 117,000 in the latest three months to 8.55 million, a rate of just under 21%, the lowest on record.

Meanwhile, the number of job vacancies in the economy increased by 4,000 to 854,000.

ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said: “The employment rate has reached a new record high, while the proportion of people who are neither working nor looking for a job – the so-called ‘economic inactivity rate’– is at a new record low.

“The unemployment rate has also fallen below 4% for the first time since early 1975.”