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Employment rate rises to 75.7%

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between December 2017 to February 2018 and March to May 2018, the number of people in work increased, the number of unemployed people decreased, and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) also decreased.


There were 32.40m people in work, 137,000 more than for December 2017 to February 2018 and 388,000 more than for a year earlier.


The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was 75.7%, higher than for a year earlier (74.9%) and the highest since comparable records began in 1971.


There were 1.41m unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 12,000 fewer than for December 2017 to February 2018 and 84,000 fewer than for a year earlier.


The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was 4.2%, down from 4.5% for a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975.


There were 8.64m people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 86,000 fewer than for December 2017 to February 2018 and 184,000 fewer than for a year earlier.


The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive) was 21.0%, lower than for a year earlier (21.5%) and the joint lowest since comparable records began in 1971.


Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 2.7% excluding bonuses, and by 2.5% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.


Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 0.4% excluding bonuses, and by 0.2% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.


Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive, Neil Carberry, said, "Despite political turmoil and uncertainty, our jobs market is remarkably robust. Because the UK jobs market is flexible, few people who want to work are struggling to find it.


"There may be more challenging times ahead as we move closer to leaving the European Union. With employment high, a comprehensive mobility deal is needed to stop lack of people being a brake on jobs and prosperity."


Phil Coulter, EMEA head of technology at Korn Ferry, commented, “Whilst today’s figures have once again confirmed strong employment growth up and down the country, the challenge still remains competing for the right staff with the right skills to get the job done. The truth is, not all businesses are in the financial position to offer substantial monetary awards to their staff, regardless of their desires. The good news is that, for the most part employees’ expectations have begun to shift. For today’s workforce, money is not necessarily the most effective way of engaging staff with their role, and it needn’t be the most effective way to reward them, either.


“In order to keep abreast of changing expectations, organisations must ensure that they have the pulling power to attract the best. From flexible working schemes for a better work-life balance and increased holiday allowance, to robust career development programmes and creative working environments, employers need to communicate the benefits associated with their brand. Moreover, speed and agility are vital in any kind of competitive market, and this applies to the switched-on, digitally-savvy recruitment marketplace. Having the right recruitment tools and technology in place will make the process efficient and more responsive to the expectations of prospective employees.”



Tara Sinclair, economist and senior fellow at Indeed, stated, “Britain’s job creation boom is running on empty - and yet it refuses to stall. For years it has successfully piled on more jobs and tempted ever more people to join the workforce.


“But the fuel on which the labour market runs - people wanting to get into work - is getting scarcer. So it’s both impressive and surprising that it is still managing to meet the demands of the economy’s job creation engine.

“Unemployment and the inactivity rate are at their lowest levels for more than four decades, and the employment rate is still marching upwards, leaving unanswered the question economists have been asking for months - how high can it go?


“The other great mystery is why such a tight labour market is not delivering faster wage growth. The gains made earlier this year are gradually being lost, and the average Briton’s wage packet is once again barely outpacing inflation.

“With employers having to fight hard for every recruit, wages should be rising as recruiters battle for talent. But 2018’s modest acceleration in wage growth comes after years of pay stagnation, and British salary growth was the lowest in the G7 over the past decade.


“Nevertheless the abundance of jobs continues to make the UK attractive to foreign workers, and yesterday the ONS confirmed that net migration into the UK stabilised in 2017. Despite the disappointing fall in the pace of wage growth, Britain’s labour market remains in generally rude health.”



Martin Talbot, director at totaljobs, said, “While England’s loss to Croatia last week may have brought us crashing back down to earth, today’s employment numbers should help cheer us up.


“The number of people in work has never been higher since records began in 1971, with the sports, public relations and security industries showing particularly strong growth on totaljobs’ platform.


“We are undoubtedly experiencing a buyer’s market for candidates. The onus is now on employers to make a strong case to potential employees on why they’re the best place to work and offer attractive packages, whether that be salary, training opportunities and softer work perks.


“Employees looking to change jobs are in a position to be picky and should use this opportunity to negotiate their package.”


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