Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unemployment falls to 1.64 million

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK unemployment fell by 52,000 in the lead-up to the EU Referendum, to 1.64 million.

The figures cover the quarter from April to June.

"The labour market continued on a strong trend in the second quarter of 2016, with a new record employment rate," according to ONS statistician David Freeman.

"However, little of today's data cover the period since the result of the EU referendum became known, with only claimant count and vacancies going beyond June - to July for the former and to May-July for the latter," he added.

The jobless total is now at its lowest for eight years, while the unemployment rate is at its lowest since the summer of 2005, according to the ONS figures.

The employment rate reached a record high of 74.5%, with 31.8 million people in work in the three months to June - 172,000 more than the previous quarter.

This tells us nothing about the impact of the Brexit vote, only that the UK economy was in good shape immediately before it.

The most interesting thing about the announcement, however is the confidence limits: The ONS said it was 95% confident that the change in the unemployment total for April-to-June is somewhere between a rise of 25,000 and a fall of 129,000.

That is quite a range! Initial economic data will be often firmed up later and may be subject to change.

Another reason why neither side should be too quick to judge what the impact of Brexit has been.

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