UNEMPLOYMENT continued to fall in the run-up to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and there was a record number of people in work.

The employment rate reached a record high of 74.5 per cent, with 31.8 million people in work in the three months to June - 172,000 more than the previous quarter.

A total of 1.64 million people are unemployed - a fall of 52,000 over the quarter and 207,000 down compared with a year ago, giving a jobless rate of 4.9 per cent.

The jobless total is now at its lowest for eight years, while the unemployment rate is at its lowest since the summer of 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The claimant count, including those on Jobseeker’s Allowance, fell by 8,600 to 763,000 in the period after the Brexit vote between June and July.

However, the claimant count rose by 900 between May and June, the ONS said.

Job vacancies were down 7,000 between May and July to 741,000, a period briefly covering Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Average earnings increased by 2.4 per cent in the year to June, 0.1 per cent up on the previous month.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: “The labour market continued on a strong trend in the second quarter of 2016, with a new record employment rate.

“However, little of today’s data cover the period since the result of the EU referendum became known, with only claimant count and vacancies going beyond June to July for the former and to May to July for the latter.”

Other figures showed the number of people classed as economically inactive has fallen by 58,000 to 8.8 million in the quarter, the lowest figure for 13 years.