25 January 2018
Employment in the UK reaches a peak of 32.2 million as job vacancies continue to rise. Meanwhile, wages continue to rise but fail to prevent continuing squeeze on real wages.
The number of people in employment in the UK unexpectedly hit an all-time high in the quarter to November amid continuing strong demand for workers, official figures showed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said more than 32.2 million were in work in the three months, an increase of 102,000 on the previous quarter and the highest total since records began in 1971. The 75.3 per cent employment rate was also a record high.
Over the quarter, the number out of work fell by 3,000 to 1.44 million, which was 160,000 lower than a year earlier and represented an unemployment rate of 4.3 per cent, the lowest in 40 years. Meanwhile, the number of job vacancies also set a record, increasing by 17,000 to 810,000.
David Freeman, ONS statistician, said, “With the employment rate returning to a joint record high and the number of vacancies setting a new record, demand for workers clearly remains strong. Moreover, economic inactivity is at its lowest since the winter of 2000-01.”
Wage increase in the UK gains pace
A 2.4 per cent rise in wages, excluding bonuses, represented the fastest increase in a year, although the rate remained below the 3.1 increase in the annual inflation rate recorded in November.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey commented, “We had a record-breaking 2017 for employment, and I’m delighted to see this trend continue as we enter the new year. The number of people in work is at an all-time high and the unemployment rate has not been this low for over 40 years.
“At this time of year, straight after Christmas, people might be feeling a squeeze on their finances. We’re determined to help people keep more of what they earn.