Unemployment has hit a seven year low, now standing at 6.2% – the lowest level since late 2008.

The unemployment rate is calculated as the proportion of the economically active population who were unemployed. This combines those in work and those seeking and available to work.

The latest statistics from the ONS revealed that 30.9 million Brits were in employment between October and December 2014.

The amount unemployed in this time stood at 1.86 million – down from 2.02 million in the previous quarter, and a reduction of 486,000 from the same period in 2013.

Employment was highest in the south east (76.5%) and lowest in Wales (69.2%). Meanwhile, unemployment was highest in the north east (8.0%) and lowest in the south west (4.5%).

Earnings were also up, with pay for UK employees increased by 2.1% including bonuses and by 1.7% excluding bonuses.

However, there were 9.05 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive, meaning they were out of work and not seeking or available to work. This was 22,000 more than for July to September 2014 and 6,000 more than for a year earlier.

This group includes students, the long-term sick, unpaid carers and those who retire early. The number is steadily increasing, having risen by one million since 2010.

Image via Chris Potter