UK unemployment falls to a 45-year low
Unemployment in the UK is now at the lowest level for 45 years and more people are in jobs than ever despite the current Brexit gloom, official figures revealed today.
The Office for National Statistics has said the number of people out of work in the past three months has now been falling for five years and is now at 3.8 per cent – lower than at any time since the end of 1974.
Employment also jumped by 99,000 in the three months to March, to 32.7 million with the number of people working now the highest on record at 76.1 per cent.
The buoyant figures show Britain’s economy still defies the Brexit paralysis and seemingly unending deadlock at Westminster.
The number of people in work continues to reach near record levels as fewer women retire between the ages of 60 and 65, new figures reveal.
Unemployment fell by 65,000 to 1.3 million, continuing a general trend which started in early 2012.
The UK’s unemployment rate of 3.8% is now lower than at any time since the end of 1974, reported the Office for National Statistics.
Average earnings increased by 3.2% in the year to February, compared with 3.5% on the previous month.
There was a 98,000 increase in the number of EU nationals working in the UK in the first quarter of the year to a record high of 2.38 million.
Since the EU referendum in June 2016, the number of EU nationals working in this country has increased by 237,000.
Other figures showed that the number of economically inactive people in the UK fell by 23,000 in the latest quarter to 8.6 million, a rate of just under 21%, one of the lowest on record.
The number of vacancies fell by 16,000 to 846,000.
The UK’s employment rate of 76% is at a joint record high, while for women it has reached the highest on record at 71%.
The increase is partly due to changes in the state pension age for women, resulting in fewer retiring between the ages of 60 and 65, the ONS said.
The number of people in work has increased by 354,000 over the past year, entirely due to full-time employment.
Part-time working fell by 18,000 to 8.5 million, while self-employment increased by 180,000 to just under five million.
Employment Minister Alok Sharma said: ‘Maintaining our record employment rate with unemployment falling again to just 3.8%, its lowest rate since 1974, once again shows the success of our balanced approach to managing the economy.
‘Rising wages and booming higher-skilled employment means better prospects for thousands of families, and with youth unemployment halving since 2010, we are creating opportunities for all generations.
‘We now need to shift some of our focus to up-skilling people and supporting them into roles with real career progression to create a modern workforce fit for the challenges of the 21st century.’
Mike Amesbury, shadow employment minister, said: ‘Look behind these figures and the reality of working life for many is one of struggle. Average wages are still below the level they were a decade ago and in-work poverty is rising.
‘Seventy per cent of children growing up in poverty in the UK live in working families. Their parents are trapped in low paid, insecure work that leaves them constantly struggling to pay household bills.’
Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy and campaigns Tom Hadley said: ‘Today’s figures continue to show a thriving jobs market, with employment still at a record high and unemployment continuing to fall.
‘The major challenge for employers is finding the right candidates, which is why recruitment professionals continue to work flat out to fill roles across all sectors of the economy.’
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Pay growth is stalling again. The last thing workers need is another hit in the pocket when real wages are still lower than a decade ago.
Source: Daily Mail Online, May 14th 2019