The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that in the three months to February the number of people out of work in the UK has fallen by 77,000 to a five-year low of 2.24m. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.9% and it is the first time since the recession that unemployment has fallen below 7%. The jobless figures for 16 to 24-year-olds were also positive and showed a fall of 38,000 in the three months to February to 881,000, the lowest for five years. After the announcement on Tuesday, that inflation had fallen to 1.6% in March, it has also been reported that average earnings in the three months to February grew 1.7% compared with a year earlier. This is the first time since the spring of 2010 that the increase in average wages has exceeded the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation. Chief economic adviser at the ONS, Joe Grice, said: “These figures – rising employment and falling unemployment and inactivity – continue the strong trend in the labour market that has been seen in recent months. Self-employment has again been a prominent growth area.” Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, hailed the “strong jobs numbers” as further evidence that the coalition government’s economic plan is working. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with employment law Solicitors in Coventry and across the country.