Britain saw the largest rise in employment since records began in the three months to July as official figures today revealed 286,000 more people secured jobs.

But unemployment fell by less than expected in the quarter, down 8,000 to 2.47 million, while the closely watched Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count rose by an unexpected 2,300 last month to 1.47 million, marking the first increase since January (see the Redundancy Help guide).

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest the recordbreaking leap in employment came largely as those classed as economically inactive, such as students, took on jobs.

The quarterly rise in employment was the largest since the ONS began collecting the data in 1971.

Employment minister Chris Grayling says: "Today's jump in employment, driven by the private sector, is good news but it doesn't disguise the fact the system the Government inherited is failing to get people on welfare into these jobs."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper says: "These figures are worrying and show it is a foolhardy time to make such big cuts."

How to limit unemployment damage

If you're out of work or are concerned you may soon lose your job, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

The Redundancy Help guide has a full break-down but here are some key tips:

  • Pay off debts. If you've any spare savings, use them to clear outstanding credit cards or loans. Having debts hanging over you during redundancy is a nightmare. The cost of most debts vastly exceeds the interest earned on savings...

  • ...but keep access to emergency funds. If you pay off debts, and it takes longer than planned to find a new job, you may need some money. More info in the Should I Repay My Debts? guide.

  • Do a debt audit. If your debts are costing a fortune, consider switching to cheaper forms of credit. You may struggle if you're already out of work as that will harm your credit score. See the Best Balance Transfers, Best Bank Account, Cheap Loans and Mortgage Finding guides.

  • Check out mortgage rescue schemes. If you have a mortgage, work out what level of protection you have if you were to lose your job. Both private, work based and government schemes may help. See the Mortgage Arrears guide.

  • Up your income. There are a host of ways to generate short-term cash, from mystery shopping to flogging your CD collection. See the Boost Your Income guide for ideas. Also reclaim unfair charges such as mis-sold PPI. Free template letters are available in the PPI reclaiming and Bank Charges Hardship guides.

  • Do a budget & money makeover. Run through your finances to see what bills you can cut (see the Money Makeover guide) and do a full budget to ensure you're living within your means (see the Free Budget Planner). The Stop Spending guide will also show you ways to cut back.

  • Beware payment protection insurance. While this type of cover can ensure you keep up loan, mortgage or credit card payments if you lose your job, it won't cover unemployment if you know there is a good chance you will lose your job (see the Loan Insurance guide).

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

Further Reading/Key links

Ease the unemployment pain: Redundancy Help