The British unemployment rate fell to a near six-year low in the last quarter, reaching levels not seen since before the financial crisis, according to data released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Unemployment fell to 6.2% in the May-July quarter, down from 6.4% at the beginning of the year. 30.61 million people are now in work – 74,000 more than in February to April 2014.

The number of people out of work fell by 146,000 in the quarter to 2.109 million.

Self-employment fell, however, dropping from 4.59 million in April – June 2014 to 4.541 million in May-July. None-the-less, the number of self-employed people working full-time has increased by 225,000 over the past year, while those working part-time increased by 143,000.

Pay, including bonuses, is 0.6% higher than a year earlier. However, a 1.5% rise in Consumer Price Index, which was reported in August, shows that inflation is still running higher than pay increases in real terms.

The report said:

The main findings of this release are that employment continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall. These changes continue the general direction of movement since late 2011/early 2012.