The number of people in work in the UK rose by 37,000 this quarter and 512,000 in the last year, bringing total employment to a record number of 30.8 million, according to the latest employment figures released by the Office of National Statistics this week.

The unemployment rate has fallen below 6 percent for the first time since 2008. This is down 1.3 ​percentage points​ ​on the year to 5.8 percent. There are now 1.91​ ​million​ ​people unemployed.

The Deputy Prime Minister​ Nick Clegg ​said:

“Today’s job figures are further proof that the economy is growing stronger. With a new record of 30.8 million people in jobs; more women in work than ever before; wages rising; and prices low due to inflation, it is encouraging to see the recovery is helping hardworking families up and down the country.

“The coalition government is building a stronger economy – shifting away from an over-reliance on the city of London and creating thousands of jobs for people across Britain.”

The employment rate for female employees has also reached a record high at 68.2 percent, with 14.4 million women in work.

Job vacancies are at the highest point in 14 years, rising by 127,000 to create 700,000 job opportunities around the country.

Other key findings from the three months ending January 2015 show:

  • Employment figures continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall over the quarter
  • There were 30.94 million people in work, 143,000 more than for August to October 2014 and 617,000 more than 2013
  • The number of people working full time is up to 22.64 million, which is 481,000 more than the same period in 2014. Part time workers had also increased by 137,000 since the previous year, reaching 8.30 million
  • The unemployment rate was 5.7 percent lower than for August to October 2014 (6.0%) and for a year earlier (7.2%). This “economically active” unemployed population includes those seeking and available to work
  • There were 9.03 million “economically inactive” people aged between 16 and 64 who were unemployed and not seeking work. This is 30,000 people fewer than the same months in 2014
  • Comparing the three months ending January 2015 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 1.8 percent including bonuses and by 1.6 percent excluding bonuses.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary at the TUC, feels that these figures don’t show great improvement. He said:

“Wages are stuck in the slow lane of recovery and are not set to be back to their pre-recession levels until the end of the next parliament. And today’s figures show wage growth getting even weaker.

“Underemployment has fallen very little since the recession, so problems remain with the quality and security of jobs that people are getting. We are still not seeing any significant progress on youth unemployment, which raises concerns that young people are being shut out of the recovery.

“With the labour market still so fragile, the last thing the economy needs is a shock from the extreme austerity that the Chancellor is planning if he is re-elected.”