News
UK employment total hits record high
22/01/2019

The number of people in work in the UK has reached a record high of 32.54 million, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Unemployment was flat, with a small increase of 8,000 between September and November for a total of 1.37 million.

Average earnings excluding bonuses increased by 3.3% in the year to November, as wage rises continued to outpace inflation.

The number of job vacancies rose by 10,000 to a record high of 853,000.

ONS head of labour market David Freeman said: "The number of people working grew again, with the share of the population in work now the highest on record.

"Meanwhile, the share of the workforce looking for work and unable to find it remains at its lowest for over 40 years, helped by a record number of job vacancies.

"Wage growth continues to outpace inflation, which fell back slightly in the latest month."

he unemployment total is 68,000 lower than a year ago, with the jobless rate 0.2% down on this time in 2018. The number of job vacancies rose by 10,000 to a record high of 853,000.

The increase in both unemployment and employment is explained by the UK's rising population and fewer people being classed as economically inactive, which includes those on long-term sick leave, students, and people who have given up looking for a job.

The number of economically inactive people fell by 100,000 to 8.6 million, a rate of 21%, which is the lowest on record.

Employment Minister Alok Sharma said: "Our pro-business policies have helped boost private sector employment by 3.8 million since 2010, and as the Resolution Foundation's latest report shows, the 'jobs-boom has helped some of the most disadvantaged groups find employment', providing opportunities across society."

Andrew Wishart, UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figures were "reassuring, showing no sign of any hit to firms' hiring ambitions due to Brexit".

However, Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned that the pace of wage increases may begin to ease.

"We doubt that wage growth will be sustained over the next six months at November's strong rate," he said, "Pay settlements likely will weaken this year, as the previous year's inflation rate usually is the starting point for negotiations.

"Nonetheless, the labour market now looks tight enough to ensure that wage growth does not slip below the 3% mark."