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Figures released on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a fall in unemployment from October to December last year.
In that time, unemployment fell by 60,000 to 1.69m compared with the previous three months while there was a 205,000 rise in employment with 31.42m now working.
Youth unemployment fell to 13.6 per cent in the same period, lower than the pre-recession low of 13.8 per cent in 2008.
There was also an annual growth of 1.9 per cent in average earnings, including bonuses, and two per cent excluding bonuses.
“It’s always pleasing to see an increased number of people in work with around half the population of the UK now in employment,” said Babs Murphy, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive.
“Not only are jobs being created but a great number of people are also out there who are able and willing to fill those vacancies.
“Just as pleasing is the increase in youth employment because, as the next generation of workers, they need to climb that first rung on the jobs ladder.”
“Another positive set of employment figures confirms that the UK’s dynamic and vibrant labour market remains a source of strength for our economy at a time of major international and domestic headwinds,” added David Kern, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) chief economist.
“However, if we are to continue to see a sustained improvement in labour market conditions much more needs to be done to close the UK’s skills gaps.”

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