Thursday, July 13, 2017

Employment at record levels

Latest employment figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released yesterday show that the number of people in work in Britain has passed 32 million while the number of people available for work but unable to find it has dropped below 1.5 million.

Employment has grown by 324,000 over the 12 months to March 2017, taking the employment rate for people of working age up to 74.9% which is the highest since records began in 1971 while the number of people seeking work has dropped by 152,000 in 12 months while the unemployment rate dropped from 4.9% to 4.5% over the same period and is now as low on a comparable basis as it has been since the mid 1970's.

Employment has risen in every region and nation of the UK since 2010.

The increase was driven by increases in full-time jobs, not part time ones, and the number of both men and women in work has risen, with the largest increase being of women in full-time jobs.

There has also been an improvement in the employment rate for young people. The unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds was 12.5%, lower than for a year earlier when it was 13.5%, and well below its highest rate of 22.5% in late 2011.

This is excellent news on jobs but no grounds for complacency: we also need to get productivity up so that employers can afford not just to employ more people but to do so at better salaries.

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