LONDON, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Britain's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1975, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced Wednesday.
ONS figures reveal there are 1.58 million unemployed people, 106,000 fewer than a year earlier. It brings Britain's unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent from 5.1 percent for a year earlier and the lowest figure since 1975.
ONS said the figures show there are 867,000 unemployed men, 56,000 fewer than a year earlier, and 717,000 unemployed women, 50,000 fewer than a year earlier.
The survey also shows there are now 23.34 million people working full-time, 305,000 more than a year earlier. There were 8.52 million people working part-time, 10,000 more than a year earlier.
Britain's employment rate, based on the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work, is now 74.6 percent, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.
For the three months ending January 2017, the highest employment rate in Britain was recorded in southeast of England with 78.5 percent while the lowest was in Northern Ireland with 69.4 percent. Southeast England also has the lowest unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, while northeast England has the highest rate at 6.8 percent.
Latest estimates from ONS also show that average weekly earnings for employed people in Britain in nominal terms has increased by 2.3 percent (excluding bonuses) compared with a year earlier.
But the ONS figures also reveal the number of workers in Britain employed on zero-hours contracts, where they only get paid if they do any work, has reached 905,000, just under 3 percent of the British workforce.
Labour politicians and trade union officials have campaigned for zero-hours contracts to be scrapped. They have been critical of contracts that do not guarantee any working hours, which means many could be left with no income at all for days.
ONS say people on zero-hours contracts are more likely to be young, part-time, women, or in full-time education when compared with other people in employment. On average, someone on a "zero-hours contract" usually works 25 hours a week. Around one in three people on a "zero-hours contract" want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job, as opposed to a different job that offers more hours.
The numbers on zero-hours contracts hovered around the 200,000 mark between 2000 and 2011 when it suddenly started to rise rapidly, reaching almost 600,000 in 2013.