Self-employed help cut UK jobless rateWednesday 14 May 2014 14.23
The number of people in work in the UK has reached a record high after further falls in unemployment, fuelled by more self-employment.
More than 30.4 million people are now in work in Britain - the highest since records began in 1971 - while self-employment has also reached a record high of 4.5 million.
The number of people working for themselves jumped by 183,000 in the quarter to March, compared with a rise of 375,000 over the past year.
UK unemployment has fallen by 133,000 to 2.2 million, the lowest for five years, giving a jobless rate of 6.8%.
Other data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today showed that jobseeker's allowance claimants fell by 25,100 in April to 1.12 million, the 18th consecutive monthly reduction.
Meanwhile, average earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to March, slightly ahead of the latest inflation rate of 1.6% - the first time this has happened for four years.
The number of economically-inactive people fell by 85,000 in the latest quarter to 8.85 million, while long-term and youth unemployment also fell.
The number of people out of work in Britain for over a year was down by 32,000 to 813,000, with unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds falling by 48,000 to 868,000, the lowest figure for five years.
The level of UK unemployment has fallen by more than 300,000 over the past year, giving jobless rates of 7% for men and 6.4% for women.
The number of people in a job rose 283,000 in the last three months - the largest quarterly increase in 43 years. The number of unemployed young people has been falling for the last eight months.