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Significant rise in self-employment, ONS figures reveal

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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.

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