BlogLatest NewsUK unemployment total falls to 2.16m

UK unemployment total falls to 2.16m

The UK jobs market continued to improve in the three months to April, although the rate of wage increases slowed sharply, official figures show.

The number of people out of work fell by 161,000 to 2.16 million over the period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.,

This brings the unemployment rate down to 6.6%.

The number of people in work rose by a record 345,000, to 30.5 million, most of which are in full-time employment.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in May fell by 27,400 to 1.09 million, the ONS said.

But the quarterly rate of earnings growth, including bonuses, slowed sharply to 0.7% from 1.9% the previous month. This was largely due to delayed bonus payments, the ONS said.

The total number of people out of work is now at its lowest level for more than five years.

The continuing improvement in the jobs market in the three months to April was due mainly to jobs created in the private sector.

The number of jobs lost in the public sector was 100,000, but much of this this was down to the reclassification of employees of Lloyds bank from the public to the private sector. Taking out the Lloyds workers, 11,000 jobs were lost in the public sector.

'Major concern'

Analysts said the ONS figures sent mixed messages to the Bank of England's interest rate-setting committee.

"Labour market strength is the driving force behind calls for interest rate increases from the Bank of England, sooner rather than later, and today's figures will add fuel to their fire," said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First.

"However, wage growth has fallen to 0.7%, versus an expected 1.2%, and this is still a major cause for concern. As a result I am still expecting the Bank to hold policy right through into the second quarter of 2015, mainly courtesy of the lack of real wage increases."

The inflation rate in the UK currently stands at 1.8%, meaning wages are increasing at a slower rate than prices.

The figures for unemployment in the three months to April are based on the Labour Force Survey, in which the ONS speaks to 60,000 households once a quarter, making it the country's biggest household survey.

The ONS is 95% confident that the figure of a 161,000 fall in unemployment is correct to plus or minus 85,000 people.

Source - BBC News

  • Recommend:
  • Share: facebook
  • twitter