ONS data shows strong rise in employment in the UK
Britain’s economic recovery has been underlined today by another increase in employment.
There’s been a stream of positive news on the UK’s economic recovery recently, and figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that employment is continuing to perform strongly.
Over 30.5 million people were in work between February and April – 345,000 more than in the previous three months and up by an impressive 780,000 from the same period last year. That was the single biggest leap since records began.
In turn, this meant that 72.9 per cent of people aged between 16 and 64 had a job – higher than the 72.3 per cent reported from November to January and way above the 71.5 per cent figure from February to April 2013.
Employment is therefore just 0.1 percentage point below the figures recorded just before the economic downturn in 2008-9, indicating that recovery is now feeding into an upswing in job creation. For those who are out of work and those who are seeking new roles alike, that can only be a good thing.
Economists will be curious to know how the Bank of England reacts to the news, given that unemployment now stands at 6.6 per cent. The central bank had said that it would begin to look at increasing interest rates once joblessness dropped below seven per cent – but that was when it was not expected to happen until at least 2015.
Pay is increasing too for the UK’s workers, but at a slower rate than inflation – excluding bonuses, pay was 0.9 per cent higher than in the same period last year. For many staff, there will be a lot of catching up to do before pressures on their income start to ease.
But for now, businesses have welcomed the signs of growing confidence in the UK labour market.
“The labour market is continuing to strengthen, with employment rising, unemployment declining and the number of inactive people also falling,” says David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce.
“These figures demonstrate the resilience and flexibility of the UK jobs market and points to continued strong positive growth in the second quarter of this year.”