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Employment is at record high says ONS

The number of people working increased by 250,000 over the last three months, up 1,244,000 since February to April 2010, with the majority of the increase being full-time, permanent jobs in the private sector. Employment increased in Scotland and Wales and in every region in England.

The figures also show that unemployment fell by 99,000 in the last three months, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.4%, the lowest since 2009.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said, “It is really encouraging news that the number of people in jobs has increasedby a quarter of a million in the last three months, bringing the total number of people in work to a record-breaking 30 million. Together with a big fall in unemployment, this shows that the Government’s long-term economic plan to get people off benefits and into work is proving successful.

“It’s also thanks to British businesses up and down the country who are feeling increasingly confident about taking on workers. This is a great sign that the economy is growing.”

Today’s figures also show:

Youth unemployment fell 19,000 over the last three months to 941,000.

Youth unemployment for those not in full-time education fell 25,000 over the last three months to 643,000.

Long-term (1 year plus) unemployment fell 33,000 over the last three months to 866,000 and it is down 38,000 on the year.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell 36,700 this month - the 13th consecutive fall. The number of young people claiming JSA fell for 18th month running

Background to labour market statistics: December 2013

This month's Labour Force Survey covers August to October 2013. The claimant count is for November 2013 and the vacancy count for September to November 2013.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

30.09 million people were in work in August to October 2013.

The employment level rose 250 thousand on the previous quarter and 485 thousand on the year.

The employment rate is 72.0%, up 0.4 points on the quarter and up 0.8 points on the year.

ILO unemployment fell this quarter

2.39 million people were ILO unemployed in August to October 2013, down 99 thousand on the previous quarter and 121 thousand on the year.

The ILO unemployment rate is 7.4%, down 0.3 points on the quarter and down 0.5 points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is down on the quarter and on the year

The economic inactivity level was 8.92 million in August to October 2013, down 45 thousand on the previous quarter and 156 thousand on the year.

The economic inactivity rate is 22.1%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and down 0.4 points on the year.

Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 16.5%, unchanged on the quarter and down 0.6 points on the year.

The number of people on JSA fell this month, and the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is also improving 

Claimant unemployment was 1,269 thousand in November 2013, down 36.7 thousand on the month and down 299.3 thousand on the year.

The claimant count rate is 3.8%, down 0.1 points on the month and down 0.9 points on the year.

The figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits and equalisation of the state pension age.

In the year to May 2013, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 71,600 to 2.46 million. The most recent provisional figure for October 2013 suggests the caseload is at about the same level.

In the year to May 2013, the number of lone parents on income support fell 77,400 to 500,000. The provisional figure for October 2013 is 490,000.

The number of redundancies fell and unfilled vacancies rose on the quarter

There were 120 thousand redundancies in August to October 2013, down 1 thousand on the previous quarter and 27 thousand on the year.

ONS' vacancy survey estimates an average of 562 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to November 2013, up 22 thousand on the previous quarter and 73 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in October 2013 was up by 0.9% over the year

Growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up by 0.8% on the year.

Commenting on the statistics, CIPD Chief Economist Mark Beatson, said, “The headline in today’s figures is that UK employment has passed 30 million for the first time ever, with employment having increased by nearly half a million over the latest 12 month period covered by these figures.  This shows how effective the UK labour market is at creating jobs and, with demand picking up and recruitment intentions strong, we can expect to see further jobs growth in the months ahead.  We are also now beginning to see jobs growth having more of an effect on unemployment and, while it is too soon to be confident on this, some indications that youth unemployment is starting to come down – although it is still far too high.

“On the other hand, pay growth remains very subdued.  Unless UK businesses use the improved economic climate to invest in their businesses and their people, we are unlikely to see wage growth pick up any time soon.”

John Salt, website director at tototaljobs.com, said, “Today’s statistics show that the economy continues its consistent improvement. It is now undeniable that we are seeing a recovery as there is economic stimulus beyond the traditionally healthy services sector as the manufacturing and construction sectors are also displaying solid growth. Employers should rejoice and take confidence from these figures and invest in recruitment to create the jobs that will build a lasting recovery.”

Nigel Meager, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, “Today’s statistics from ONS show another strong improvement, confirming that the UK labour market recovery is well under way. Nearly all the main indicators have moved significantly in the right direction compared with last month’s statistics. Unemployment (on both the Labour Force Survey measure and the claimant count measure) is down by nearly 100,000 on the previous quarter, to 7.4%, and the narrower claimant count measure of unemployment fell by nearly 37,000 on the previous month. Importantly, youth unemployment has also fallen over the quarter. Employment is also growing, as are the number of job vacancies. It is interesting to note that total hours worked in the economy have grown slightly faster than total (headcount) employment. This reverses the pattern seen in recent quarters, and suggests that the trend towards shorter-hours working and under-employment may be turning at last, as the economy picks up. Despite this, however, it’s worth stressing that the number of people working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job still remains at an all-time high (just below 1.5 million). If this figure also begins to dip in the coming months it will be further confirmation that the recovery is a solid one. Also out today, the figures for public sector jobs show that the ongoing fall in public sector employment seems to have flattened out in the quarter to September 2013, although this may well be temporary given the further spending cuts in the pipeline, and meanwhile the strong growth in private sector jobs continues (up a quarter of a million between June and September 2013). The seemingly inexorable squeeze on ordinary workers’ living standards has also continued with yet another quarter in which average earnings growth at 0.9% is greatly outpaced by price increases at 2.2%.”

Earlier this week the CBI published its Employment Trends Survey which showed more companies than not expect to create jobs over the next 12 months for the first time since the onset of the recession in 2008.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director of Employment and Skills, said, “The stronger economic growth we have seen recently seems to be increasing the speed of job creation. With employment rising in almost all regions, led by full-time jobs and across most sectors, real progress is being made. Our own employment survey shows this positive trend looks set to continue, with more than half of firms expecting to create new jobs next year, including more graduate and apprenticeship opportunities.”

Earlier this week the CBI published its Employment Trends Survey which showed more companies than not expect to create jobs over the next 12 months for the first time since the onset of the recession in 2008.

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