Record numbers of people were in work in the three months from October to December 2007, official figures have revealed.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed 175,000 more people found a job in the last three months. The employment level stands at a record high with almost 29.4 million in work.
At the same time, the number claiming jobseekers allowance is down for the 16th consecutive month, falling by 10,800 in January to 794,600 – the first time it has fallen below 800,000 since 1975.
The number of vacancies in the UK economy remains high at 677,400. Redundancies are at their lowest level since records began in 1995.
Employment minister Stephen Timms said: “These figures show we continue to have a strong and stable labour market, with both record numbers in employment and the lowest claimant count for 32 years.
Earnings growth in the year to December was 3.8%, down 0.2 percentage points from November.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said the figures indicate that the jobs outlook was not so bleak after all.
Chief economist John Philpott said: “Taken at face value, the ONS figures suggest that most new jobs at present are going to people aged 50 and over – this age cohort accounts for almost six in 10 of the additional people in work last year.”