UK job market continues to grow as unemployment drops by 146,000
Unemployment in the UK has fallen once again, according to new ONS figures, with 146,000 more finding jobs in the three months to July this year.
By now it’s almost dull to hear more positive news about the labour market, but the UK’s economic recovery is showing no signs of slowing down if employment is anything to go by.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that joblessness plummeted in the three months to July. In fact, the number of unemployed people fell by 146,000 over the period.
Compared to the same quarter last year, the figure dropped by an impressive 468,000 – the biggest annual decline since 1988.
Overall, that means the headline unemployment rate fell to 6.2 per cent for the three months to July, representing the lowest level in nearly six years. However, this still means that over two million people are unemployed, so there’s more work to be done. Yet in the last month of the period, the rate had dropped to 5.9 per cent, which indicates that a growing number of people are managing to find work.
Some 30.6 million people are now employed, ONS says, an increase of 74,000 from the previous quarter.
It’s worth noting that the majority of the improvement came from a rise in part-time employment, but crucially, the number of people saying they worked part-time because they were struggling to find a full-time role also fell by 66,000.
Yet one thing that has characterised the rebound in the UK’s job market is slow wage growth, and the latest figures continue that trend. Regular pay increased by just 0.7 per cent over the three-month period, which represents the slowest rise since records began 13 years ago.
Another quarter of below-inflation wage growth is not particularly reassuring for candidates. However, Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills and the Confederation of British Industry, says this will eventually change.
“With unemployment dropping, and wage settlements in larger firms starting to pick up, we expect to see average earnings growth begin to rise in time,” he explains.
Meanwhile Bernard Brown, KPMG partner and head of business services, says that confidence in the UK’s economic growth will lead to job-hunters negotiating better salaries.
“Inflation may be down, but wages have been stifled for so long that many will use the new found economic confidence to demand more before they sign on the dotted line,” he adds.
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