Human Resource Management

HRM Guide Updates

UK Unemployment

Labour Market Statistics

March 18 2015 - The unemployment rate stands at 5.7% - down 0.3% on the quarter and 1.5% down over the year. 30.94 million people were in work in November 2014 to January 2015 according to the labour force survey (LFS). The number of people employed was 143,000 higher this quarter and 617,000 higher than last year.

The working age employment rate is 73.3% - 0.2% up on the last quarter and up 1.2% over the year.

ILO-defined unemployment in November 2014 to January 2015 was 1.86 million (5.7%) - down by 102,000 on the previous quarter and down 479,000 on the same quarter last year.

The claimant count for key out-of-work benefits was 791,200 in February 2015 - down by 31,000 on the previous month and down 380,555 on the year.

Average wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.8% over the year.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

"This is a remarkable set of figures, which underlines this government's success in backing businesses to create jobs, and supporting British people to seize those opportunities.

"As a country we should be proud that there are now record numbers of people in work, record numbers of job vacancies available, and the lowest unemployment rate since 2008.

"For every single day that this government has been in power we have seen an average of 1,000 more people in work. In total, that's 1.9 million more people with the self-esteem and financial security that a job brings.

"Thanks to our long term economic plan, Britain is looking forward to a brighter, better, and more secure future. And thanks to our welfare reforms we have ensured everyone has the skills and the support, as well as the opportunities, to be part of the economic recovery."

Mark Beatson, chief economist, CIPD commented:

"These figures suggest that we entered 2015 with favourable employment conditions. Although employment growth is not quite as strong as it was last summer, jobs growth of 600,000 a year is still a very high rate of growth by historical standards. In addition, most of the last year's jobs growth has been full-time and with employee status. Unemployment is now at 5.7% and, when we see the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast accompanying the Budget, it will be interesting to see how much further the OBR think it can fall.

"Wage growth remains subdued at a three month average of 1.6% excluding bonuses and real pay is growing. However, this is because of low inflation, which is expected to be a temporary situation. UK workers will not see sustained real pay increases until we see sustained growth in our productivity.

"Today's Budget must do more to address skills and productivity. Now that more people are in work we need to help businesses develop and train them and help them to offer their people more hours if they want them. Part of this involves looking at National Insurance contributions for both employers and employees. This will open up more money for businesses to invest in the infrastructure and skills they need to succeed. If the Chancellor can show progress on this today, it will be a step in the right direction for addressing the UK's productivity deficit.".

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