Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Record numbers in work as unemployment continues to fall


UK unemployment fell to 1.63 million between May and July. according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The unemployment rate was 4.9%, down from 5.5% a year ago and little changed from last month.

The Employment rate was up to 74.5%, in other words nearly three quarters of people who can work have jobs, which is a record high rate: there are 31.77 million people in work.

I think it is unfortunate that these good figures have been quoted almost entirely in terms of the decision to leave the EU, when they provide no real support to the arguments of either side in that debate.

We have not yet left the EU: analysis describe UK employment as "resilient" before and after the EU vote. It looks unlikely that it will be obvious whether leaving the EU helps or hinders UK employment until some time after we actually do leave, (probably in 2019) and possibly not even then.

Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The UK's labour market proved resilient in the immediate aftermath of the vote to leave the EU"

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, agreed the jobs data showed "no immediate impact from the Brexit vote".

The ONS said the figures, which only cover one month since the result of the EU referendum, show "continuing improvement" in the jobs market.


Growth in average weekly earnings was 2.3% over the year to August, marginally less than in previous months. That is still ahead of inflation, which was 0.6% in the year to August.

The claimant count, including Jobseeker's Allowance, went up from the previous month by 2,400 to 771,000.

One interesting aspect of the employment figures concerns the number of people employed in the public sector, which is down to 5.33 million, the lowest level since the Office for National Statistics started collecting the figures in 1999 and a drop of 13,000 since March.

This indicates a re-balancing of the economy towards the private sector. Employment is at record levels, but it is the private sector that is providing the lions share of the opportunities and all of the net increase in jobs.


Jim said...

The EU does not affect "jobs" so much, it never has. What does is the market potential for company's to import and export, which of course if we are talking about to and from places like Holland and france, come from the EEA (or the single market).

Its because the EU is not so much a law maker as a law taker, this actually can put the UK into a far stronger position than it is as a member state. That is exactly what i have been trying to tell you for a long time.

Jim said...

Basically, we are better off and can have far more influence at what is in the package, rather than 1/28th of a say in what colour envelope its shipped in.

Chris Whiteside said...

I understand your position, Jim, and you may be right.

What I am getting increasingly frustrated with - and it applies equally to Remainers and Leavers - is the people who cannot receive or pass on any new economic statistic without trying to analyse and comment on whether it proves one side or other in the EU membership debate right.

FFS we have not even left yet. Neither side can be proved right or wrong yet.

Jim said...

Yes, you are completely correct, we have not left yet so brexit and unemployment figures cant be linked.

The main thing really I was getting at is to point out that Brexit can work to our favour, so long as we play the negotiations properly. Its so vital that we do get the negotiations right. That is why you will never hear me complain about the government not triggering article 50 immediately.

I would suggest its better to get the French and German elections out of the way first, and go in with a blooming good idea of what we want to come out with.

Chris Whiteside said...

I think that's the point. Whatever side one was on during the referendum, it's done, we're leaving, but most of the intelligent people on both sides realise that both "In" and "Out" have advantages and disadvantages - that's why the vote was so close, for heaven's sake.

So even those of us who voted Remain ought to be saying "Right, if we're going to take the hit of the disadvantages let's make sure we get the advantages" and even those who voted leave ought to get the point about trying to minimise the disadvantages.

That means, as you rightly say, triggering the starting gun for the two year negotiating period when we have a good idea what we want to come out with.