• In the three months to December 2014, employment rose by 103,000 and unemployment fell by 97,000 compared with the previous quarter.
  • The unemployment rate was 5.7%, compared with 6.0% in the previous three months.
  • The youth unemployment rate was 16.2%, unchanged from the previous three months but much lower than the 19.9% recorded a year earlier.

Commenting on the latest labour market figures, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“The latest figures highlight the flexibility and resilience of the UK labour market. The growth in employment and fall in unemployment are stronger than a month ago and point to improved momentum in the economy after a weaker patch last year. It would not therefore be surprising if the ONS updates its preliminary 0.5% GDP figure for the fourth quarter of last year.

“One area of concern is that youth unemployment remains unchanged after a long period of steady declines. While youth unemployment remains much lower than a year ago, it is consistently higher than the adult employment rate, so we need to look at ways to bring this down further.

“It is positive that earnings are now increasing much faster than prices, however, it is important to remember that wage increases can only be sustainable if they are matched by increases in productivity. We must match the positive developments with the right policies, in order to support business confidence and help drive the economy forward.”