There are now 28.6 million people in work, up 183,000 on a year ago, according to new government figures.
However, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) will cause concern for employers after the Office of National Statistics and Jobcentre Plus series reported “high levels” of unfilled job vacancies.
The UK now has the highest employment rate of the major world economies, according to the government.
The LFS showed:
- Unemployment has fallen 23,000 to 1.4 million
- The number claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in April 2005 was 839,400, up 8,100 on the month but down 32,100 on the same month last year.
- The number of people claiming incapacity benefits fell 22,000 in the year to November 2004, to 2.64 million.
Margaret Hodge, the new minister of state for work, said the government had set its sights on an employment rate of 80%.