UK unemployment falls to new 42-year low

Unemployment in the UK fell by 57,000 in the three months to June, official figures show, bringing the jobless rate down to 4.4% – its lowest since 1975.

The squeeze on real incomes continues to grow, though at a slower pace.

Average weekly earnings increased by 2.1% compared with a year earlier – slightly higher than last month’s 2% increase.

But with inflation standing at 2.6%, real earnings still fell by 0.5%, the ONS figures showed.

At 75.1%, the proportion of people in work is the highest it has been since 1971 – partly due to the introduction of a later state pension age for women.

There were 32.07 million people in work in the three months to June – 338,000 more than for the same period last year.

“The employment picture remains strong, with a new record high employment rate and another fall in the unemployment rate. Despite the strong jobs picture, however, real earnings continue to decline,” said Office for National Statistics senior labour market statistician Matt Hughes.

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