Human Resource Management

HRM Guide Updates

UK Unemployment

Labour Market Statistics

January 21 2015 - The unemployment rate stands at 5.8% - down 0.2% on the quarter and 1.3% down over the year. 30.80 million people were in work in September to November 2014 according to the labour force survey (LFS). The number of people employed was 37,000 higher this quarter and 512,000 higher than last year.

The working age employment rate is 73.0% - unchanged on the last quarter and up 1.0% over the year.

ILO-defined unemployment in September to November 2014 was 1.91 million (5.8%) - down by 58,000 on the previous quarter and down 518,000 on the same quarter last year.

The claimant count for key out-of-work benefits was 867,700 in December - down by 29,700 on the previous month and down 370,800 on the year.

Average wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.7% over the year.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

"We have reached an important milestone in this country's jobs-led recovery - with unemployment falling below 6% for the first time in 6 years. Welfare reform has played an instrumental part in this.

"We know that British people want to work hard and get on, but all too often in the past the welfare state hindered rather than helped thwarting ambition and killing off hope. We put an end to that and now the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits is the lowest for a generation, and there are record numbers of people in work.

"Thanks to our long-term economic plan, businesses are feeling confident about the future. Jobs are being created and salaries are rising, meaning that increasing numbers of people are feeling the security and hope for the future that comes with a regular wage."

Mark Beatson, CIPD chief economist commented:

"This set of statistics raises more questions than most about the direction of the economy. Employment growth in the three months September-November 2014 was 37,000, compared with 243,000 just six months previously, so there is some easing of jobs growth. This is consistent with the unfilled vacancies figures, which reached the 700,000 mark in the three months October-December. Vacancies are at their highest level since this series was first calculated, in 2001, but again the rate of growth is slower than last spring and summer.

"This suggests that a greater proportion of employers are facing difficulties filling vacancies compared with last year. In the face of a tightening labour market employers should look at how they can make better use of the skills and knowledge they already possess and whether they are maximising their potential to attract candidates. Investing in the future talent pipeline with clear progression paths is key to offsetting recruiting difficulties and will help to ease retention problems that are often ignored in the narrow debate about skills shortages.

"This easing of demand for labour may be a reflection of an economy that was growing less strongly in the second half of 2014, consistent with the latest Office for Budget Responsibility forecast. However, it could also be a sign that excess capacity in the labour market is starting to be used up. If we use the three month average, annual earnings growth has increased each month since June of last year but this does not mean pay is going to take off - it could just be a correction from the very low rates of pay growth we saw in these figures during the spring."

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