UNEMPLOYMENT fell to 4.7% in the three months to June, down slightly on the previous quarter, while average pay rose 7.4%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said reports the BBC.
ONS deputy statistician Jonathan Athow said the “world of work continues to rebound robustly” from the pandemic.
Analysts had predicted that the jobless rate would stay flat.
The ONS said payrolls rose by 182,000 between June and July, although at 28.9 million it is still 201,000 lower than before the pandemic struck.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures showed the government’s plan for jobs was working.
He said: “I know there could still be bumps in the road but the data is promising – there are now more employees on payrolls than at any point since March 2020 and the number of people on furlough is the lowest since the scheme launched.”
The number of people on payroll has now grown over half a million in the past three months, regaining about four-fifths of the fall seen at the start of the pandemic.
Mr Athow said that early survey figures show that the number of job vacancies passed one million for the first time ever in July.
“There was no sign of redundancies starting to pick up in our survey data ahead of the furlough scheme beginning to wind down, and Insolvency Service figures for July suggest the same,” he said.
Arts, leisure and food service firms were among those making a contribution to the surge in job openings.
Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said: “The labour market outperformed expectations as the economy accelerated with the relaxation of Covid-related restrictions.
“Changes to the business environment, such as the fall in business travel and the rise in online commerce, increased the need for skills, from IT specialists to hauliers, while at the same time caused an unusually high level of mismatch in the UK’s labour market.”