HR · 18 April 2018

Employment rate at record high as 427,000 join UK workforce last year

The unemployment rate is currently at 4.2 per cent and has not been lower since 1975.

Official figures out today show that the employment rate is at 75.4 per cent – up 0.8 percentage points from 74.6 per cent a year ago and the highest since records began.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 427,000 more people have moved into employment in the last year, with 32.26 million now in work.

In addition to this the UK has the third highest employment rate in the G7 with the number of people out of work falling by 136,000 compared to a year ago.

The future of UK employment rates look promising as there still many job vacancies available, with an average of 815,000 openings in the economy at any one time.


Today’s employment figures also show:

  • The number of people in employment has increased by over 3.2m since 2010
  • The number of workers aged 50 or over has reached a record 10.1m
  • Youth unemployment level has fallen by over 40 per cent since 2010
  • Unemployed young people who are not in full time education is 5. per cent, falling 3.9 percentage points since 2010
  • More than 820,000 people are now receiving Universal Credit, with 38 per cent in employment

Commenting on this, the secretary of state for work and pensions, Esther McVey, said: “Over 1,000 people have moved into work every day since 2010, and credit has to be given to the businesses who have created those jobs and the individuals who are taking those opportunities.

“Day by day we are helping people turn their lives round by getting into employment. Jobs are key to transforming lives and work is the best route out of poverty.

“This month we have again increased the personal allowance and taken more people out of paying tax all together making sure people can keep more of what they earn.

“This comes as we have reformed welfare to make work pay, backed businesses to take more people on, and built a stronger, fairer economy. But we want to help even more people benefit from a well-paid job.”

If you’re a first-time employer, use our essential three-part guide on recruiting your first member of staff:

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.


If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

Tax & admin