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The number of people in employment in the UK hit a new record in the final quarter of 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

During the period, 32.6 million people were in employed, while unemployment remained steady at 1.36 million, or 4% of the population, which is the lowest rate since 1975.

A further 167,000 people gained employment between October and December compared with the previous three months, and 444,000 more than the same period in 2017.

ONS deputy head of labour market Matt Hughes said: "The labour market remains robust, with the employment rate remaining at a record high and vacancies reaching a new record level.

"The unemployment rate has also fallen, and for women has dropped below 4% for the first time ever."

As well as record employment, the ONS also revealed that the average weekly wage rose to its highest level since March 2011. It said average earnings went up 3.4% to £494.50 in the final quarter. However, it still remains below the level seen before the financial crisis started in 2008.

Earlier this month, a number of surveys indicated a slowdown in growth of the UK economy during January as uncertainty grows around the looming Brexit deadline, which may have an impact on hiring for the start of 2019.