September 12 2012.

- In the three months to July 2012, unemployment fell by 7,000 and employment rose by 236,000

- The number of people working part-time reached a new record high

- Private sector employment increased and public sector employment fell in the last quarter

- The claimant count fell by 15,000 in August

Commenting on the labour market figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "The latest job market figures are once again encouraging, and support our belief that the UK economy has returned to positive growth in the third quarter. Employment is up, unemployment and the claimant count are down, and the rate of inactivity is at its lowest since 1991. These figures will no doubt raise more questions about the accuracy of the latest GDP figures, which show three consecutive quarters of negative growth.

"Despite this positive news, there are still some areas of concern. The number of people forced to work part-time because they cannot find a full-time job has reached a new high, and there are still too many young people unemployed. More deficit cuts in the coming months mean there will be a further reduction in public sector employment, although it is reassuring to see that the private sector is willing and able to create new jobs.

"Overall, it is clear that growth is still too weak, and problems in the eurozone will continue to put pressure on our exporters. The government must build on the positive job figures by implementing more policies that allow businesses to deliver growth. An effective growth strategy should include further deregulation, increased infrastructure spending and the creation of a British Business Bank."