UK employment rate falls to 6.8%

The number of people out of work in the UK fell by 133,000 to a fresh five-year low of 2.2 million in the three months to March, official figures show.

The unemployment rate now stands at 6.8% of the workforce according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said that the number of people in employment rose to 30.43 million which is the highest since records began in 1971.

The increase was helped by a rise in the number of people working for themselves. Self-employment reached 4.5 million.

The number of people on Job Seeker’s Allowance in April fell by 25,100 to 1.2 million and the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds fell by 48,000 to 868,000 – the lowest figure for five years.

The Minister for Employment Ester McVey said that “as recovery takes hold, more people are able to get a job or set up their own business and become the employers of tomorrow”.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “There’s more to do, but its welcome unemployment is down again. More jobs means more financial security for people.”