An impressive 63,000 people found work in the UK during the three months to January 2014, according to official data released today by the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS identified that the countryís unemployment rate fell to just 7.2%, a sharp decrease from the 7.4% rate from the previous three months.
The fall means that a monumental 30.19 million people are in some form of work at present, which is remarkable considering that unemployment, was hanging around the 8% mark just 9 months ago.
The ONS also had positive data on the complexion of worker wages, identifying that the average income rose by 1.4% on year by year comparison in the three months leading up to January 2014.
And despite huge political scrutiny about the levels of youth unemployment in the UK, the ONS outlined that the quantity of people aged between 16 and 24 actually fell by 30,000 to 912,000 in the three months to January, representing its lowest value since 2011.
ëLong term economic plan is workingí
The government has argued that the ONSís data highlights the success of the policies it has implemented in recent times, and identified the improvement in the countryís economic performance as the primary factor behind the staggering fall in unemployment over the past 12 months.
Employment Minister Esther McVey argued that the fall in unemployment clearly illustrated that “the growing economy is helping record numbers of people to find a job”.
“The rise in employment is being fuelled by businesses and entrepreneurs across the country who are feeling increasingly confident with the improving economy,” she added.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Another significant fall in unemployment is a sign our long-term economic plan is working, providing security and chances for hard-working people.”
The government will also point to the nature of the data as a clear sign that their welfare reforms are beginning to have the effect on societal mentalities that they have strived to achieve, with it clearly indicating that more and more people are entering into employment since the changes were made.
Last month, the number of individuals who claimed Jobseekerís Allowance dropped by a staggering 34,600, taking the total number of applicants to 1.175 million. Over the course of the last 12 months, the total number of applicants fell by an even more substantial 363,200, clearly displaying that people are being forced to hedge their financial bets on employment income, rather than from welfare related monetary aid.
ëThousands not feeling recoveryí
Despite the positive nature of the ONSís recent data, Labour have criticised the government for their failure to address the endemic problem of youth unemployment, arguing that they have worsened the situation rather than taken measures to resolve the issue.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves argued that “long-term youth unemployment has doubled under David Cameron”.
“It’s clear tens of thousands of young people are not feeling any recovery at all,” she said.
“Today’s figures also show that working people facing a cost-living crisis and that prices are still rising faster than wages under David Cameron.”
David Tinsley, economists at BNP Paribas, argued that whilst the ONSís data was undeniably positive and promising, that nevertheless it was not fully representative as many of the new workers described were self-employed, and as such, not guaranteed a steady income.
“The level of employees actually fell by 60,000 over the quarter to January, with a large rise in self-employment making up for this drop,” he said.
Mr Tinsley also pointed out that the average number of hours worked by a worker each week had actually fallen by 0.2% in the past three months, whilst the total number of workers in the public sector fell by 159,000, likely due to the privatisation of the Royal Mail last year.
The issue of youth unemployment and worker wages are set to be addressed by Chancellor George Osborne in his annual budget today, with many calling for reform to be implemented in order to give the countryís eligible youth greater and more flexible employment opportunities.