Unemployment has fallen to its lowest total for over a year, although there has been an increase in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance.
The jobless total dropped by 49,000 in the quarter to September to 2.51 million, the lowest figure since last summer. But the so-called claimant count jumped by 10,100 last month to 1.58 million, the highest since July, and the biggest monthly rise since last September.
The number of people in work increased by 100,000 in the latest quarter to just under 30 million, a rise of over half a million over the past year.
Other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that long-term unemployment - those out of work for over a year - increased by 12,000 in the quarter to September to 894,000, while 443,000 people have been jobless for over two years, up by 21,000.
Part-time employment increased by 49,000 to 8.1 million, close to a record high, while there were 51,000 more people in full-time jobs, at 21.4 million. But more young people are classed as economically inactive, most of whom were in full-time education. Average earnings increased by 1.8% in the year to August, up by 0.1% on the previous month, giving average weekly pay of £471, including bonuses.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: "It's good news to see yet another increase in the number of people in work and to see unemployment fall again. The fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, although we're not complacent about the scale of the challenge still facing us.
"We're working hard to help the long-term unemployed back into a job. That's why we've committed to supporting the hardest-to-help people over a two-year period through the Work Programme so that we can help them overcome their barriers to work and get them into sustainable jobs."
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "We have been seeing further job losses in both the public and private sectors over the past two months and it is hard to see where the new jobs are going to come from with confidence at rock bottom. The Chancellor needs to use next month's autumn statement to kick-start the economy."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Tougher times may still be ahead if our economy starts to slow again in the autumn quarter. There are still big challenges ahead, with long-term unemployment rising, real wages falling and far too many young people out of work. Today's improvements can only be sustained if the Government acts to keep our economy moving. We also need far more investment in quality support for those who are out of work to ensure that they can share in our emerging jobs recovery."
Neil Carberry, the CBI's director for employment and skills, said: "It's encouraging that people are continuing to find jobs and that the unemployment rate is falling, but progress on getting people into work is much slower than we saw earlier in the year, and last month there was a troubling rise in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance. Youth unemployment remains a concern despite the recent fall in overall numbers."