Labour Market Statistics
April 17 2015 - The unemployment rate stands at 5.6% - down 0.2% on the quarter and 1.3% down over the year.
31.05 million people were in work in December 2014 to February 2015 according to the labour force survey (LFS).
The number of people employed was 248,000 higher this quarter and 557,000 higher than last year.
The working age employment rate is 73.4% - 0.4% up on the last quarter and up 1.2% over the year.
ILO-defined unemployment in December 2014 to February 2015 was 1.84 million (5.6%) -
down by 76,000 on the previous quarter and down 416,000 on the same quarter last year.
The claimant count for key out-of-work benefits was 772,400 in March 2015 -
down by 20,000 on the previous month and down 369,400 on the year.
Average wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.7% over the year.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
"Workers have just been through the longest period of falling real wages since Queen Victoria was on the throne.
"Wage growth remains weak today, with rising pay too dependent on oil prices being at rock bottom - a situation that’s unlikely to last.
"We need a government that builds a far more stable foundation for decent wage growth than we’ve had in the last five years.
This should include a much higher minimum wage and stronger rights for people with zero-hours contracts."
Mark Beatson, chief economist, CIPD commented:
"The last set of statistics before the General Election show jobs growth continues on its upwards trend. We need jobs growth on this scale to provide employment for our growing population and reduce unemployment further but our economy needs to be raising the productivity of those jobs too as this is the only way we are going to see sustainable growth in real earnings, which continue to disappoint.
"Now is the right time for businesses to invest in new equipment, processes and in developing the workforce - while interest rates remain low and before skills shortages become widespread. With stable growth, the next government will also need to focus on increasing productivity – which doesn’t just increase living standards but makes it easier to reduce the deficit.
"Businesses and government need to recognise that people drive workplace productivity and that the right training and skills development is key to unlocking business potential. Simply getting more people into work isn’t a long-term solution for individuals or for economic prosperity. We must focus on whether those people have the skills, training and clear direction to do their jobs well and where they haven’t, take urgent and lasting steps to plug those knowledge gaps."