Human Resource Management

HRM Guide Updates

UK Unemployment

Labour Market Statistics

June 17 2015 - The unemployment rate stands at 5.5% - down 0.2% on the quarter and 1.1% down over the year. 31.5 million people were in work in February 2015 to April 2015 according to the labour force survey (LFS). The number of people employed was 114,000 higher this quarter and 424,000 higher than last year.

The working age employment rate is 73.4% - 0.1% up on the last quarter and up 0.7% over the year.

ILO-defined unemployment in February 2015 to April 2015 was 1.81 million (5.5%) - down by 43,000 on the previous quarter and down 349,000 on the same quarter last year.

The claimant count for key out-of-work benefits was 791,000 in May 2015 - down by 6,500 on the previous month and down 290,000 on the year.

Average wages, including bonuses, rose by 2.7% over the year.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"Although today's improvements are welcome, there is still a long way to go for youth unemployment and underemployment. Real wage growth remains too reliant on low inflation, and even if prices remain exceptionally low we are facing a lost decade on pay growth.

"The weaknesses in the labour market that remain behind the headlines should not be swept under the carpet. The government must set clear goals this parliament to bring down youth unemployment and underemployment, and ensure that everyone who needs work has access to a secure and fairly paid job."

Mark Beatson, Chief Economist at the CIPD, commented:

"We're finally starting to see some positive movement on wages, but this spike in real pay growth may well be short-lived, particularly as it is likely we'll see inflation rising again later this year. Of greater concern is that we are still not seeing the productivity growth required to make real pay rises sustainable. Output increased by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2015 and total hours worked in the three months January to March increased by 0.2%, which suggests that the labour productivity figures for the first quarter of 2015, due out on 1 July, will show very slow productivity growth at best.

"Employment is still rising, but the growth rate is starting to slow. Job vacancies are up by 82,000 on last year and our own survey, out today, indicates that three-quarters of organisations have struggled with recruitment challenges in the last year, particularly when filling skilled or niche roles. Getting people into work is just half the story. This must be balanced with ongoing investment and development to equip people with the skills they need to contribute to businesses for the long term, keeping both businesses and individuals competitive.

"Now is the time for businesses to balance their recruitment efforts with up skilling their workforces and creating an ongoing learning culture in work. We urgently need the government to recognise the importance of getting skills back on the agenda as part of its promise to create a budget for productivity next month."

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