The UK unemployment rate fell in the three months to August to its lowest level since February 1974 as more Britons dropped out of the workforce due to long-term illness.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday showed that the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% from 3.6% in the previous three months, versus expectations for it to remain unchanged.
The ONS said the number of those “economically inactive” due to long-term sickness increased to a record high.
Total pay, including bonuses, rose 6% on the year, up from 5.5% in the three months to July. Regular pay, excluding bonuses, grew 5.4%, up from 5.2%. In real terms, however, adjusted for inflation, total pay fell 2.4% and regular pay was down 2.9%.
The data also showed that the number of workers on payrolls rose by 69,000 between August and September to a record 29.7m.
David Freeman, head of labour market and household statistics at the ONS, said: “The unemployment rate continues to fall and is now at its lowest for almost 50 years.
“However, the number of people neither working nor looking for work continues to rise, with those who say this is because they’re long-term sick reaching a record level.
“While the number of job vacancies remains high after its long period of rapid growth, it has now dropped back a little, with a number of employers telling us they’ve reduced recruitment due to a variety of economic pressures.
“However, because unemployment is also down, there continues to be more vacancies than unemployed people.”