Recent official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the number of people in employment in the UK has reached a record high.
With an increase of 168,000 more people in employment in the quarter leading up to January 2018, it took the total to 32.2 million - the highest total recorded by the ONS since records began in 1971. I’s not the only good news for the UK’s employment sector either. As well as a record employment rate of 75.3%, average earnings have also increased by 2.8%. This means that wages are closing in on inflation, which was running at 3% in January and fell even further to 2.7% in February.
Chief economist at Deloitte, Ian Stewart, said that the ONS data also reveals that more people are resigning from their current jobs in order to take up new positions with other companies. This is a trend which could lead to wage growth as employers will be forced to increase pay in order to retain or attract workers. Stewart commented:
“The post-Brexit squeeze on consumer spending power is easing. Low unemployment, a slowing flow of overseas workers into the UK and high levels of job vacancies are raising wage pressures and boosting job moves. The number of people resigning from one job to move to another fell in the wake of the financial crisis, but is now running at its highest level since 2001. The scene is set for a pick-up in earnings growth this year.”
Although there was an increase in the number of people registered as jobless (24,000) in the quarter leading up to January 2018, the current unemployment rate of 4.3% is the lowest it has been since 1975. There are currently 1.45m unemployed people in the UK, which is 127,000 less compared to the previous year. Another record was broken in this area as unemployment figures for men aged between and 25 and 34 are at an all-time low.
The latest statistics from the ONS have led experts to believe that the future of the UK’s job market is looking hopeful, especially with the recent increase in the national living wage. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey commented:
“We’ll be taking thousands more people out of paying tax and also increasing the national living wage, benefiting those on the lowest pay and making sure they keep more of what they earn. In fact, by raising the national living wage, we have ensured that the lowest earners have seen their wages grow by almost 7% above inflation since 2015.”
Separate data taken from gov.uk reveal even more certainty about today’s employment figures:
- There are currently a record 810,000 vacancies in the economy at any one time
- The number of people in employment in the UK has increased by more than three million since 2010
- The UK has the third highest employment rate in the G7
- The number of workers aged 50+ has reached a record 10 million
- Youth unemployment has fallen by over 40% since 2010
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