Unemployment rate hits lowest point in seven years

Latest Labour Market Statistics from the Office for National Statistics reveals employment rate is at its highest point since records began in 1971

Unemployment rate hits lowest point in seven years

Being out of work can be a desperate time for those frantically trying to pay bills, feed mouths and keep a roof over their head. For many in post-recession Britain, the fear of finding oneself without work has been a source of no-end of sleepless nights. Fortunately it seems that British citizens’ worries are over, as the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that UK unemployment is at its lowest level since 2008.

According to the ONS’s latest Labour Market Statistics, the UK unemployment rate for June to August 2015 fell to 5.4%, which is 2% lower than the March to May 2015 period and 6% lower than the previous year. The total of people unemployed now stands at 1.77m, which means 79,000 fewer people are unemployed compared to the previous quarter and 198,000 fewer compared to the previous year. Meanwhile the number of people who are economically inactive – those who are not working and are not seeking or available to work – currently stands at 9.01 million people.

Employment is also at a record high: the current rate of 73.6% is the highest since comparable records began in 1971. In terms of raw numbers, this quarter has seen 22.77 million people in full-time work and 8.30 million people in part-time work, meaning that there is a grand total of 31.12 million people in some form of employment.There are currently 140,000 more people in work since March to May 2015 and 359,000 more compared to last year.

But it’s not just employment that’s looking up: it seems people have more money in their pockets as well. Wages for employees in the UK have increased by 3% including bonuses and by 2.8% excluding bonuses since this time last year. However, this is lower than this year’s peak wage growth, which reached 3.3% in the three months running up to May.

Matthew Fell, interim chief policy director at the CBI, said: “We’re encouraged by businesses creating more jobs, leading to rising employment. It’s also good to see falling unemployment, particularly among those out of work for more than one year dropping by 44,000.

While we want to see higher pay growth, this must go hand in hand with increases in productivity. It’s crucial that the Low Pay Commission retains autonomy over future national living wage rises to avoid unnecessary political interference and help boost jobs.”

Here’s hoping the unemployment rate only continues to fall. 

Jess Mackinnon
Jess Mackinnon

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