People in work reaches record high of 29.5 million

The number of people in employment has reached a record high of 29.5 million, new statistics out today have revealed.

Figures issued by the Office for National Statistics show the largest annual increase in employment since 1997. The employment rate for people of working age was 74.9% for the three months to February 2008, up 0.2% from the previous quarter and up 0.6% over the year.

Almost half of the annual increase can be attributed by a rise in the number of older workers, as 7.89 million people over 50 are now continuing to work.

Employment minister Stephen Timms said: “More people now than ever are in work, while unemployment continues to fall – showing strong performance in spite of the current global economic uncertainty.

“The economy is benefiting from the skill and expertise that people aged over 50 are bringing to the workforce and we are continuing to ensure that our welfare reforms provide greater opportunities for people across all walks of life to get into work if they want to,” he added.

The number of vacancies is also at a record high, rising 12,000 on the quarter to 687,600, while the number of redundancies is down 17,000 to a record low of 106,000. Unemployment continues to fall, down 90,000 from a year ago.

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