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Vacancies and employment levels at record highs in UK

13 April 2017

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people in employment is at its highest level since 1971 and a record number of job vacancies are also being reported.

The total of people out of work in the UK has fallen to its lowest since 2006 with the employment rate equalling its highest figure since records began 46 years ago. Record numbers of job vacancies

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday also showed that a record number of vacancies were on the books. But, as anticipated, wage increases are beginning to fall behind inflation: in the three months to February, pay growth, excluding bonuses, stood at 2.2 per cent, just behind the month’s inflation figure of 2.3 per cent. Taking the month of February alone, regular pay growth was just 1.9 per cent, although those receiving bonuses saw pay rises of 2.9 per cent.

With inflation expected to reach three per cent later this year, economists fear consumer spending – the prime mover behind the nation’s solid economic performance – could be adversely affected.

A record high in work

However, on the jobs front, all the news appeared much better than many had been predicting after the Brexit vote. The jobless total was down 45,000 in the quarter to February to 1.56 million, a reduction of 141,000 on a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the number in work rose by 39,000 to a new high of 31.8 million, representing an employment rate of 74.6 per cent, the joint highest since records began in 1971.

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And vacancies were up by 16,000 to a record 767,000, with particularly strong demand from the accommodation and food services sectors.

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