16 February 2017
Working women drive record levels of employment
Employment in the UK is soaring as official statistics show the number of people in work is almost at "capacity".
According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a further 300,000 adults are in a job compared to a year ago - with employment rising to 31.8 million people.
Meanwhile, unemployment fell by 7,000 to just under 1.6 million.
The latest ONS statistics were published on Wednesday 15 February - and women could be the reason the labour market is flourishing.
The figures show the proportion of women in work reached a record high of 70% for the last quarter of 2016, while unemployment remained at its lowest level since 2005, at 4.8%.
ONS senior statistician David Freeman said: "Continued moderate growth in employment has led to a new high in the total employment rate, while the rate for women has reached 70% for the first time on record.
"Overall, the labour market appears to be edging towards full capacity."
Responding to the figures, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green was jubilant over employment growing at its highest rate since records began, and unemployment at its lowest in over a decade.
He said: "Our ongoing welfare reforms will continue to incentivise work and make sure the system is fair to all those who need it and those who pay for it.
"With youth unemployment down, women in work at record levels and number of disabled people in work increasing too, we're delivering on our pledge to build a country that works for everyone."