Home News Duncan Smith: Record employment rate shows we were right to reform

Duncan Smith: Record employment rate shows we were right to reform


The employment rate has now hit an all time record high in the UK, after growing faster than any major economy over the past year.

In the final set of official national statistics published in this Parliament, private sector employment and vacancies in the economy have also broken records – with 2.3 million more people in private sector jobs than in 2010, and nearly three quarters of a million vacancies available at any one time.

This government has taken action to reform the welfare system, and has seen remarkable success in supporting people off benefits and into work.

The number of people claiming the main out of work benefits has fallen to its lowest level for over 30 years.

This government has stuck to the long term economic plan, and now the overall unemployment rate is at its lowest point for more than 6 years.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

“This is a remarkable set of figures, which underlines this government’s success in backing businesses to create jobs, and supporting British people to seize those opportunities.

“As a country we should be proud that there are now record numbers of people in work, record numbers of job vacancies available, and the lowest unemployment rate since 2008.

“For every single day that this government has been in power we have seen an average of 1,000 more people in work. In total, that’s 1.9 million more people with the self-esteem and financial security that a job brings.

“Thanks to our long term economic plan, Britain is looking forward to a brighter, better, and more secure future. And thanks to our welfare reforms we have ensured everyone has the skills and the support, as well as the opportunities, to be part of the economic recovery.”

Youth employment has risen by more than 110,000 in the past year and youth unemployment has also fallen by around 20%. Excluding those in full-time education there are now 496,000 unemployed young people.

Overall employment figures:

  • record private sector employment of 25.5 million (up 2.3 million since 2010)
  • record employment rate (73.3%)
  • record vacancies (735,000 at any one time)
  • record 30.9 million people in work
  • 98% of the annual rise in employment came from those working as employees (rather than self-employed)
  • the number of people claiming one of the main out-of-work benefits is the lowest level since 1982
  • number of women in work and female employment rate are both at record highs (14.48 million and 68.5%)
  • total worklessness down by more than 1.1 million since 2010
  • lowest unemployment rate since May to July 2008 (5.7%)
  • total private sector pay up 2.1% over the past year


The number of people in jobs increased by more than 600,000 over the last year – an average of more than 1,600 every day – to a record 30.9 million. Three-quarters of the growth in the past year has been in full-time employment.

Universal Credit

The Universal Credit will eventually replace 6 different benefits to make sure that work always pays, and today’s figures include details of claims for the new benefit which has already been rolled out in more than 165 Jobcentres.

More than 10,000 have claimed in the first month since the benefit was rolled out nationally, and almost 75,000 claims have been made since the reform was introduced.

Claimant count

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit (and are not in work) has now been falling for the last 28 months, now with the lowest number claiming since 2008 at around 820,000.

The government’s Work Programme has contributed to long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance claims falling for 2 years in a row. Overall long-term unemployment has also fallen to its lowest level in 5 years.

Young people

Youth unemployment, excluding those in full-time education, is down to 6.8% of the population and the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen every single month for more than 3 years. It is at the lowest level since the 1970s.

International comparisons

The UK has seen the strongest employment rate growth in all of the world’s major economies (the G7) over the last year, and stronger than the EU as a whole.

The annual rise in UK youth employment was not only larger than any other country in the EU, it was also larger than the rest of the EU put together.

Supporting people into work

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offers a range of support across the country to get people off benefits and into jobs through our network of over 700 Jobcentres. These include work experience, employer-led training, work placements, skills training, the Work Programme, and help for budding entrepreneurs through the New Enterprise Allowance.

DWP has also introduced the ‘Claimant Commitment’ in all British Jobcentres – it is a more rigorous commitment for benefit claimants based on the person’s individual circumstances and clearly sets out what their responsibilities are while job hunting. Latest figures show that more than a million jobseekers have now signed the commitment.

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