By Jonathan Davies

The number of people unemployed people in the UK has fallen below two million for the first time in five years in the three months to the end of August.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said the number of unemployed people of working age fell by 154,000 during the period. It means the unemployment rate is now 6%, its lowest level since 2008.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 18,600 to 951,900.

The ONS said that weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 0.9% compared with the previous year.

Despite the falling numbers of unemployed people, slow growth of wages has been a problem for the government. The Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to cut the number of people in low-paid work.

Ester McVey, employment minister, said: "We know we've had to build the country back up but the UK economy is the fastest economy in the G7... We're in it together and we're moving in the right direction."

John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Falling unemployment is good for the UK economy. Small businesses are creating new jobs, but weak wage growth is still a concern. Government should use Autumn Statement as an opportunity to build on recent reforms and create the best possible environment to do business. This will enable employers to grow, pay their staff more and take on new employees.”

Jeremy Cook, the chief economist at the foreign exchange company, World First, said:

“If there has been one piece of economic data from the UK that has yet to disappoint in 2014, it has been the unemployment rate.

“Unemployment is at the lowest level since October 2008 and brings the number of people employed within the UK economy to 30.8 million, a new record. Likewise, the claimant count fell to 2.8%, the lowest since 2008."

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