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Significant rise in self employment, ONS figures reveal


Self employment levels have risen considerably, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


Labour market figures show that, between March and May 2016, the number of self employed individuals increased by 300,000 to 4.79 million. The self employed now account for 15.1% of all people in work.


Commenting on the data, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), stated: ‘While it’s good to see more people in work, the huge increase in self employment raises questions about the nature of these jobs.


‘These newly self-employed workers are not all budding entrepreneurs.’


The data also revealed that unemployment reached its lowest level in more than a decade.


Between the months of March and May of this year, a total of 31.7 million people were in work – 176,000 more than for the three months to February 2016, and 624,000 more compared to a year earlier.


Furthermore, average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 2.2%, in comparison to the previous year.