Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Unemployment in the United Kingdom falls once again

Unemployment in the United Kingdom falls once again

The unemployment rate was 4.3% in the three months to August, unchanged from the previous reading.

There were 1.44 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 52,000 fewer than for March to May 2017 and 215,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

"Between June to August 2016 and June to August 2017, in real terms (that is, adjusted for consumer price inflation), regular pay for employees in Great Britain fell by 0.4% and total pay for employees in Great Britain fell by 0.3%", the ONS said.

The latest unemployment report is unlikely to deter the Bank of England from raising interest rates for the first time in a decade, at its next meeting on 2 November.

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The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.1%, up from 74.5% for a year earlier.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: "Our economy is helping to create full-time, permanent jobs which are giving people across the United Kingdom the chance of securing a reliable income".

Stephen Clarke, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: "Today's figures confirm the big picture trend that the United Kingdom labour market is great at creating jobs, but bad at raising people's pay".

Other data showed that the number of people classed as economically inactive fell by 17,000 over the latest quarter to 8.8 million, giving a record low rate of 21.4 per cent.

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Overall employment rose to 32.1m - though it is down slightly compared with the overlapping three-month period to July.

The main opposite Labour Party's employment spokeswoman, Margaret Greenwood, said: "With a record number of working people living in poverty, the news that real wages have fallen yet again is deeply concerning".

The latest numbers reinforce what the new deputy governor of the Bank of England, Dave Ramsden, said on Tuesday: there's little sign of wages picking up in response to higher inflation.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: "Britain desperately needs a pay rise". However, the claimant count rose by more than 1,700 to 804,100 in September, compared with a fall the month before.

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"The chancellor must help struggling families when he gives his Budget next month".

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