From January to March this year, a further 202,000 people found work, taking total employment 31.1m. This means that 73.5% of 16-64 year-olds were employed during the last quarter.
Additionally, the number of unemployed people fell by 35,000, while the number of economically inactive people dropped by 69,000.
“The British economy remains an incredible job-creating machine, with employment rising by around 200,000 in the latest quarter to a total of above 31m for the first time,” said PwC chief economist John Hawksworth.
“The employment rate also rose to a new record high of 73.5%, while unemployment continued its fall to 5.5%, not much higher than before the financial crisis.
“Vacancies also rose to a record high of 745,000, indicating that it is becoming harder to fill the job openings that are arising.”
Hawksworth explained that an increase in demand for labour had pushed regular pay growth up to 2.2%. Coupled with 0% inflation, workers, he said, were “experiencing solid real pay rises for the first time since the recession”.
“This should help to support the domestic economic recovery at a time when international economic prospects remain very mixed,” he added.
However, Hawksworth was quick to point out that output growth’s increase of 0.3% did not match expectations and indicated a further fall in productivity.
He said, “[This] is not what you would expect at this stage in the economic cycle.
“The possibility remains that these GDP growth estimates will be revised up in future years to better match the strength of the labour market data.”