THE UK’s unemployment rate has fallen to a ten-year low of 4.8 per cent following another drop in the numbers out of work.

The jobless total stands at 1.62 million after a reduction of 16,000 in the quarter to October.

The UK has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, with only Germany and the Czech Republic having a lower figure.

There was a slight fall of 6,000 in the number of people in work, to 31.7 million, although the figure for women reached a record high of almost 15 million. The employment rate for women is now almost 70 per cent, the best since records began in 1971.

There was an increase of 2,000 in the claimant count last month, to 809,000 - the highest figure since February 2015.

The Office for National Statistics also reported a rise of 76,000 in the number of people classed as economically inactive. The total, which includes those on long-term sick leave, taking early retirement, looking after a relative or who have given up looking for work, is 8.9 million.

Average earnings increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to October, up by 0.1 per cent on the previous month.

Public sector employment has increased by 12,000 to 5.4 million, mainly due to new jobs in the NHS and education. It is 10,000 lower than a year ago.

The number of workers in private firms has fallen by 17,000 to 26 million, but still 352,000 higher than a year ago.

Other figures showed a 107,000 increase in part-time workers to a near record high of 8.56 million.

ONS senior statistician David Freeman said: “While the employment rate remains high, it is slightly down on the record set recently. A small fall in unemployment was more than offset by a rise in economic inactivity.”