12/12/2012 04:34 GMT | Updated 12/12/2012 06:34 GMT

UK Unemployment Falls By 82,000 To 2.51m Between August And October

A record number of people are in work after the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment since the Spring of 2001.

The jobless total fell by 82,000 in the three months to October to 2.51 million, down by 128,000 on a year ago.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971 and up by half a million on a year ago.

But those classed as economically inactive, including those looking after a family, on long-term sick leave or who have given up trying to find a job, increased by 60,000 to 9.07 million.

The number of unemployed women fell by 21,000 to 1.08 million compared with a fall of 61,000 among men.

The number of long term unemployed also increased. 449,000 people have been out of work for more than two years, up by 6,000, while 904,000 have been jobless for more than a year, unchanged from the previous quarter.

Mark Hoban said that while the figures were "positive", he added there was "more work to be done."

The shift in employment patterns was revealed in new data showing a slump in public sector employment and an increase in the numbers employed in private firms.

Public sector employment fell for the 12th consecutive quarter, by 24,000 to 5.7 million, the lowest since 2002.

Employment in the civil service was cut by 3,000 to 455,000, the lowest since records began in 1999, while local government employment also fell to a record low of 2.5 million after a cut of 32,000.

Private sector employment rose by 65,000 in the latest quarter to 23.8 million, the highest on record.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 3,000 in November to 1.58 million, following two monthly increases.

The number of unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds fell by 72,000 to 945,000.

Average earnings increased by 1.8% in the year to September, unchanged on the previous month.

Howard Archer, chief European & UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said the data provided "welcome and much-needed respite" for the UK.

"The jobs figures are significantly better than expected, which provides a welcome boost to growth hopes.

"The data suggest that the dip in employment in September may well have been primarily due to some of the people who were involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games seeing their employment come to an end."

Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics warned there were signs growth was "slowing."

"The quarterly workforce jobs picture suggest that jobs growth in the last few months has been rather more modest than the timelier LFS [Labour Force Survey] figures have suggested."

Charles Levy, senior economist at The Work Foundation, said: “Today’s labour market statistics show youth unemployment has dropped significantly. However, this pace of change can only be sustained if our economy is creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every quarter. Unfortunately, in the three months to October the economy only created 40,000 new jobs, far fewer than we have seen recently. Employment amongst women actually fell by 13,000 over the period.

“However, rather than entering employment or full-time training, it appears that many 16-24 year olds are becoming economically inactive. It is too early to make predictions, but there is a real risk that these numbers will represent the end of the recent mini labour market recovery.”