Unemployment in Britain has fallen by 57,000 in the three months which brings the jobless rate down to its lowest since 1975, at 4.4 per cent. But despite the boost in employment, the newly released statistics also show that wage growth is still weak.
New Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that at 75.1 per cent, the proportion of people in work is that highest that it has been since 1971. It means that there were 338,000 more people in employment in the three months to June this year than in 2016.
There are however more contributing factors then the rate of employment getting a boost, as the later state pension age for women has been introduced, and there still remains 1.48 million out of work.
This was reflected as it shows 70.5 per cent of women aged from 16-64 were in work, the highest female employment rate since comparable records began in 1971.
Comparatively, 79.8 per cent of men aged from 16 to 64 were in work, a rate which has not been higher since March to May 1991.
The number of people out of work dropped by 57,000 over the quarter to 1.48 million, which is a 12-year low and the ‘claimant count’ fell by 4,200 in July to 807,800. And despite this households are still feeling the pinch as a slight growth in wages is countered by inflation.
Wages grew by 2.1 per cent for April to June but once inflation is taken into account total pay sank by 0.5 per cent in real terms.
ONS senior labour market statistician Matt Hughes said: “The employment picture remains strong, with a new record high employment rate and another fall in the unemployment rate.
“Despite the strong jobs picture, however, real earnings continue to decline.”
It comes as the cost of living, which has marched higher in response to the Brexit-hit sterling, held steady at 2.6 per cent in July, in line with the rate for June.
London, the North West, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, the South East, South West, Wales and Scotland all saw their unemployment rates decrease. Only the North East, West Midlands and the East of England saw it rise while Northern Ireland saw no change in its unemployment level.
Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: “These statistics show that record levels of people are in work across the country and earning a wage, which is great news.
“Over the past year the rise in employment has been overwhelmingly driven by permanent and full-time jobs, as employers continue to invest in Britain’s strong economy.
“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.”
The amount of people in the highly-criticised ‘zero-hour contracts’ also reduced, coming down by 20,000 to 883,000 people compared to a year earlier.
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