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The jobs boom means the British economy is ready for anything

A young female steel erector marks off the blueprints with a colleague. Female building surveyor 
Among the success stories are the 58,000 more women working in construction since 2010

Britain’s jobs boom has once again produced another brilliant set of results. Regardless of the political debates, whatever the predictions and despite the global economic uncertainties, UK employment is going strong.

New data show that we have a record high level of employment, with 32.8 million people in work, an increase of over 3.7 million people since 2010 which is more than the entire population of Birmingham.

It is true that there has been uncertainty, and like other nations the UK is facing global economic headwinds. But the fact remains that we are well braced for that – our economy is still predicted to grow faster than Germany, Italy and Japan.

And crucially Britain remains one of the easiest places in Europe to set up a business, something that will continue to give us a huge competitive advantage over our European neighbours. I recently visited Italy where I was told that starting up your own company involves a delicate balancing act of bureaucracy that even Vaslav Nijinsky in his prime would have struggled to pull off. It isn’t much easier in France either.

All of this means Britain is well placed to ensure more of us have the security of a regular pay packet and that employment continues to rise.

Employers have confidence in the UK and our workers, and that’s the case across all industries. The latest data shows there are 145,000 more jobs in IT in the last two years, 105,000 in science and technology and 83,000 more in manufacturing.

Sometimes we can get lost in the figures but when you create more jobs, you create more opportunities for people and you improve their mental health and quality of life. More jobs mean fewer children growing up in a home with no adult in work. In fact, since 2010 we have 600,000 fewer children growing up in a home with no adult in work.

And most of these jobs are not short term. Of the 3.7 million more people in work since 2010, three quarters have entered permanent, full-time and higher skilled roles. In London, that includes 613,000 more jobs in IT and business services since 2010. Clearly, these are not the precarious low-paid roles that are lazily depicted by the Labour Party.

In fact, across all jobs, UK workers are getting a well-earned pay rise. New data shows wages are outstripping inflation for the 17th month in a row. It means workers in the public and private sector are benefiting from a long-due pay rise, and I’m pleased that millions of hard-working public sector workers will also benefit from a pay boost this year.

Today, I met some of the new female engineers and apprentices benefiting from Britain’s employment boom who are working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel super-sewer. If female presence in the construction industry sounds odd, you have clearly not been paying attention because since 2010 there are 58,000 more women in construction jobs and 1.9 million more women in work overall.

It’s all contributing to a workforce that is more gender diverse than ever before and we have also seen a near-record rate of ethnic minority people in work under this government. Of those 3.7 million more people in employment since 2010, almost a third were from an ethnic minority.

And as the new Women and Equalities Minister, as well as Work and Pensions Secretary, I know we can do even more to help people overcome their own barriers to work and make sure our welfare system delivers for each individual.

So yes, we still have work to do but Britain is well placed to finish our economic recovery.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, we will deliver Brexit by the end of October whatever the circumstances. So we are stepping up our preparations across Government – including a new fast-track visa route to attract top scientists and researchers into British jobs.

The UK workforce has never been larger or more gender diverse, and employers across all industries have confidence in our workers. This is a record to be proud of and one which puts us in the best possible position to seize the opportunities that await us.

Amber Rudd is the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Minister for Women and Equalities