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Record number of people in work, job figures reveal

A record number of people are now in work after the biggest fall in unemployment for over a decade, according to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) employment figures released today.

The jobless total fell by 82,000 in the three months to October to 2.51 million, down by 128,000 on a year ago.

The ONS said it was the biggest quarterly fall since April 2011.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6 million, the highest figures since records began in 1971 and up by half a million on the same period last year.

There was a drop in youth employment as the ONS said unemployed 16-24 year olds fell by 72,000 to 945,000 in the three months to October.

Employment in the public sector fell for the 12th consecutive month, dropping 24,000 to 5.7 million, which was outstripped by a 65,000 rise in private sector employment to 23.8 million.

Private sector employment rose by 65,000 in the latest quarter to 23.8 million, the highest on record.

Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive Kevin Green said: "We have record levels of employment in this country and the jobs market has continued to improve in the last quarter of 2012. Doom and gloom merchants should focus on the positive rather than risk talking us back into recession."

Green added: "The economy as a whole is still fragile but it's the flexibility within our labour market, people at all levels of the workforce willing to take on temporary contracts, project work and part time roles that has meant we haven't seen the levels of unemployment experienced on the continent."