PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers
- Sign up to see last 24 hours
Dont have an account?Sign up here
The Coalition has been given a boost with news that unemployment fell 14,000 from October to December.
The Office for National Statistics also revealed this morning that year-on-year employment was up by 500,000.
Nick Clegg cautiously welcomed the figures, saying that UK unemployment is "much, much lower" than elsewhere, while Iain Duncan Smith called the news "remarkable".
However Labour said the fall in unemployment came at a price, with wages going down and youth unemployment rising again.
Overall, the ONS said there were 29.73 million people in the UK in employment, of which 73% were working full-time and 27% were working part-time.
"This is a remarkable set of figures and it is also remarkable because it's a pat on the back in difficult times for British industry and the private sector because these are private sector jobs not public sector jobs," the Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky News.
Speaking on his LBC Radio phone-in, the Deputy Prime Minister said: "There are lots of people chasing jobs. If you’re listening to this programme and you’re chasing a job and you’re in competition with many hundreds of people, it may not feel like it.
"But at least we’ve got unemployment down. At least unemployment is coming down, and it’s much, much lower than many other economies that are going through similar difficulties as we are."
The ONS stated that the total number of working age people out of work is now 2.5m, with the long-term unemployed making up around a third of the total.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said: "Today's fall in the headline rate of unemployment is welcome but it is now clearer than ever that British workers are paying the price to get a job or keep a job.
"People have now taken an average £1,200 pay cut since the election... Youth unemployment has risen yet again, back towards the million mark, the number of women out of work has gone up and long-term unemployment is still far too high."
The figures follow a new study by by the Jobs Economist consultancy showing the financial crisis led to 3.7m people being made redundant - around one in seven workers. However the research found redundancy rates since 2008 were lower than after previous recessions.
Full access for £22 a month...PoliticsHome PRO Find out more
20/02/2013 on Sky News
20/02/2013 on BBC News
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
40 minutes ago on BBC News
2 hours ago on World at One, BBC Radio 4
2 hours ago on The World At One, BBC Radio 4
4 hours ago
2 hours ago
3 hours ago