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UK: Employment reaches an all-time high but wage growth is weak

posted onAugust 16, 2017
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The UK's official unemployment rate has declined, hitting its lowest level since 1975, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) There were 1.48 million unemployed people 57,000 fewer than for January to March 2017 and 157,000 fewer than for a year earlier. The unemployment rate was 4.4%, down from 4.9% for a year earlier.

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that there were 32.07 million people in work, 125,000 more than for January to March 2017 and 338,000 more than for a year earlier. The employment rate was 75.1%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

The ONS reported that the number of non-UK nationals employed in the UK workforce continued to increase, rising 109,000 to 3.56 million compared to a year earlier. Within that non-UK nationals from in the EU continued to rise, while workers from outside the EU decreased by 18,000 from a year ago.

The employment minister, Damian Hinds, as quoted by The Independent said: “These statistics show that record levels of people are in work across the country and earning a wage, which is great news. The task now is to build on this success through Jobcentre Plus and our employment programmes so that everybody can benefit from the opportunities being created.”

Office for National Statistics figures showed that pay rises improved up by 2.1% (excluding bonuses) in the three months to June than in the same period in 2016.

This was higher than the 1.8 per cent City of London analysts had forecast, but well below the latest inflation rate of 2.6 per cent in the year to July.

Once inflation is taken into account, total pay in real terms sank by 0.5 per cent both including and excluding bonuses, as cost of living has risen.

The pound, which has been in the doldrums this week, rose against both the dollar and the euro following the news on jobs.