The number of people out of work has fallen by 4,000 between April and June, to 2.51 million.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: “With 29,000 fewer people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance compared to this time last month, and more people in work than ever before, today’s figures paint a positive picture of the UK labour market.”
But Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said:
“Today’s small drop in unemployment rates masks the damaging growth of under-employment plaguing the country and stifling economic recovery.
“A toxic combination of part-time, minimum wage, zero-hours working is spreading across the country, as decently paid, full-time opportunities become increasingly rare.
The number of unemployed 16-24 year-olds rose by 15,000 to 973,000.
Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: “Rising youth joblessness crushes young ambitions. Our research shows that many young people are expecting nothing but a life on benefits.
“We cannot let a whole generation of young people give up hope for the future.”
** ONS: Employment growth over the past half decade entirely down to 317k increase in employment of over 65s. 76k fewer under 65s.