The number of people classed as employed has reached a record high of 32.7 million, the highest level since records began in 1971, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics. Unemployment fell by 27,000 to 1.34 million, with the rate of 3.9 percent now lower than at any time since the end of 1975. The figure has increased by 457,000 over the past year, all among full-time employees and the self-employed, while the number of people in part-time jobs fell by 15,000. Average earnings increased by 3.5 percent in the year to February, unchanged from the previous month.
This marked no change on the previous month, but still outpaced inflation.
When adjusted for inflation, pay, including bonuses, wages increased by 1.6 percent on the year, the highest figure since the summer of 2016.
The number of economically inactive people fell by 114,000 in the latest quarter to 8.53 million, a rate of just under 21 percent, the joint lowest on record.
The number of vacancies is unchanged at 852,000.
ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes said: “The jobs market remains robust, with the number of people in work continuing to grow.
“The increase over the past year is all coming from full-timers, both employees and the self-employed.
“Earnings have now been growing ahead of inflation for over a year, but in real terms, wage levels have not yet returned to their pre-downturn peak.”
Total pay, including bonuses, now averages £494 a week, compared with £525 in February 2008, the year of the economic crash.
Hamish Muress, currency analyst at OFX, said: “In the face of all ongoing Brexit shenanigans, the UK labour market has continued to tick along at an impressive rate with employment now reaching new record highs.
“The critical wage growth figure also matched expectations, and this could be reinforced if inflation comes in as expected tomorrow, at around 2 percent.
“Sterling’s apathetic response to this morning’s figures reflects the shortened working week as well as the fact that Brexit continues to dictate the terms for the pound.
“This morning’s data release does, however, remind investors that there are parts of the UK economy that remain fundamentally sound.”