The overall UK unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.8% but the figures also showed the claimant count – those out of work and receiving unemployment benefit – rose by 5,300 in September to 1.47 million.
David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "These figures are slightly better than expected. Employment is up, unemployment is down, and there has been a further fall in the level of inactivity. However, there are also some negative features. The recent increases in total employment were mainly driven by part-time workers, whose number has increased to its highest level since records began in 1992. Furthermore, the number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job is also at a record high.
"While recent labour market trends are welcome, we have not yet seen the negative impact on jobs that will result from the tough but necessary deficit-cutting measures that will be implemented over the next few years.
"On the basis of these figures we reiterate the BCC’s forecast that UK unemployment is likely to record a further net increase of some 200,000 over the next 18 months, reaching a peak of around 2.65 million in the first half of 2012."