A record number of people in the UK are in work and unemployment has fallen by another 60,000 to its lowest rate for a decade, new figures have shown. 

The British jobless total dipped to 1.69 million in the final quarter of last year, a rate of 5.1%, the lowest since the end of 2005. 

More than 31.4 million people are in work, the highest since records began in 1971. 

The number of people on the UK claimant count, including Jobseeker's Allowance, fell by 14,800 last month to 760,200, the lowest since the summer of 1975. 

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed a record 776,000 job vacancies across the UK economy after a 23,000 increase in the latest quarter. 

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sick leave, looking after a relative or who have given up looking for work, continued a downward trend, with an 88,000 quarterly fall to 8.8 million.

The economically inactive rate for women fell to 27.2% - a record low. 

Average earnings increased by 1.9% in the year to December, 0.2% down on the previous month. 

"While the employment rate continues to hit new highs and there are more job vacancies than ever previously recorded, earnings growth remains subdued and markedly below the recent peak of mid-2015," the ONS noted. 

The number of UK nationals in work increased by 278,000 between October and December to 28.28 million, while for non-UK nationals the figure rose by 254,000 to 3.22 million. 

The ONS also said today that 9,000 working days were lost from ten industrial disputes in December, one of the lowest on record. 

The record high for days lost in a month was 11.6 million in September 1979.