Delivering his spring Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown was proud to play the ‘employment record’ card in a sign that electioneering is well under-way.
According to the Chancellor employment has risen by over two million since 1997 while unemployment has fallen to 4.7%.
Timely labour market statistics out today support Brown’s claims.
Figures show that the UK has the highest number of people in employment since comparable records began in 1971.
The UK labour force reached 28.6 million, adding 127,000 in three months to January 2005, and 219,000 over the year. The employment rate for people of working age reached 74.9%, higher than at any time since August 1990.
Employment in the public sector remains high fuelled in part by higher than average earnings growth. Earnings rose by 4.4% in the year to January while the public sector average totalled 4.3%.
The claimant count is also down but by a mere 700 between January and February standing at 813,300.
The Chancellor proclaimed the statistics a success, saying: “We have the best combination of low inflation, high employment and rising living conditions.”
There are 157,000 more self employed and 300,000 more new businesses, he said.