Unemployment fell 79,000 in the three months to August, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), resulting in the unemployment rate dropping to 5.4%.

It means there are now around 1.77 million people in the UK that are unemployed, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008. The news will be welcomed by the government after two sets of disappointing jobless figures. A sustained period of falling unemployment throughout 2014 and the majority of 2015 so far was followed by three consecutive announcements of rising unemployment.

The ONS also revealed that overall pay was up 3% during the quarter. Excluding bonuses, wages were up 2.8%. Combined with yesterday's inflation figure of -0.1%, British workers saw an average 3.1% rise in real-term wages during the third quarter.

Kirstie Donnelly, UK managing director of City & Guilds, said: “It’s positive to see a fall in unemployment and I welcome the Government’s focus on getting people into employment. No doubt there will be a sigh of relief in Number 10 as David Cameron prepares for Prime Minister’s questions. However, the fact remains that nearly 15% of young people in this country are unemployed.

“Young people are still being presented with a range of options after secondary school that is too narrow and too focused on university and for many there is a real danger of falling through the cracks. One way to tackle this is reforming the apprenticeships system which should be designed to best suit applicants. There needs to be a single coherent approach to recruitment for apprentices, similar to the UCAS system, which is easier for young people to navigate and for businesses to advertise opportunities.”