But when we come to look at where the gains have come, the picture is distinctly mixed. There has been a huge increase of 177000 in employment. Most of this, however, some 145000, is in part-time jobs. The age distribution of the gains in employment is also a feature of the data - all the gain is observed in the older age group, 50 years of age and above. Consistent with the employment gains being concentrated in part-time work, average hours worked have continued to fall.
The news on pay is also indicative of a market that has started to slow. Comparing weekly earnings in September 2015 with those a year earlier, pay growth slowed to 2.0% (from 3.2% last month). It is difficult to attribute this to any sector-specific factors - the slowdown appears to be fairly even across industries.
In sum, the news on the unemployment rate is, at first blush, something that should offer good cheer, but the underlying figures offer very little comfort.