UK Economy
UK employment rose again at a record pace in the three months to April
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jun 11, 2014 - 2:05 PM

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The UK unemployment level fell by 161,000 to 2.16m in the three months to April, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.6%. Meanwhile UK employment rose again at a record pace in the three months to April but average earnings growth fell substantially below inflation.

The quarterly rate of earnings growth, including bonuses, slowed to 0.7% from 1.9% the previous month, mainly reflecting bonus payments. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that excluding bonuses, pay rose by 0.9%.

The Office for National Statistics said that there were 30.54m people in work, 345,000 more than for November 2013 to January 2014 and 780,000 more than a year earlier.

72.9% of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, up from 72.3% for November 2013 to January 2014 and up from 71.5% a year earlier. The latest figure of 72.9%, for February to April 2014, is 0.1 percentage point lower than before the downturn of 2008-09;

  • There were 2.16m unemployed people, 161,000 fewer than for November 2013 to January 2014 and 347,000 fewer than a year earlier;
  • The unemployment rate was 6.6% of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work), down from 7.2% for November 2013 to January 2014 and down from 7.8% a year earlier;
  • There were 8.82m economically inactive people (those out of work but not seeking or available to work) aged from 16 to 64. This was 80,000 fewer than for November 2013 to January 2014 and 178,000 fewer than a year earlier;
  • 21.8% of people aged from 16 to 64 were economically inactive, down from 22.1% for November 2013 to January 2014 and down from 22.4% for a year earlier. The latest figure of 21.8%, for February to April 2014, is the lowest since 1990;
  • Pay including bonuses for employees in Great Britain for February to April 2014 was 0.7% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 0.9% higher.

The inflation rate in the UK is at 1.8%, meaning wages rising at 0.7% in 12 months, are increasing at a slower rate than prices.

"Weak pay growth and the 'cost of living crisis' remains the Achilles heel of the economic recovery," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

"But it should not be long until we see earnings growth accelerate as the labour market continues to tighten. Pay growth should pick up in coming months, perhaps significantly."

Public sector employment was down 103,000 in the first quarter of the year, while private sector employment was up 447,000.


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