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Unemployment rate rises to 4.1%, ONS reveals

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between April to June 2018 and July to September 2018, the number of people in work and the number of unemployed people both increased but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking nor available to work (economically inactive) was little changed.


There were 32.41m people in work, 23,000 more compared with April to June 2018 and 350,000 more than for a year earlier.


The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was 75.5%, little changed compared with April to June 2018 but higher than for a year earlier (75.0%).


There were 1.38m unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 21,000 more than for April to June 2018 but 43,000 fewer than for a year earlier.


The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was 4.1%, slightly higher than for April to June 2018 but lower than for a year earlier (4.3%).


There were 8.74m people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking nor available to work), little changed compared with April to June 2018 but 147,000 fewer than for a year earlier.


The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive) was 21.2%, unchanged compared with April to June 2018 but lower than for a year earlier (21.6%).


Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 3.2% excluding bonuses, and by 3.0% 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 0.9% excluding bonuses, and by 0.8% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.


Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy, Tom Hadley, said, “Although unemployment has slightly increased, employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need. We already have record numbers of vacancies, and the signs are that these skills shortages will further intensify over the next few months as EU workers no longer find the UK an attractive place to work.


“UK businesses will need to work with recruitment partners to innovate and review current hiring strategies – particularly, with regards to reaching out to under-represented groups.  At the same time, the case for a pragmatic, evidence-based immigration strategy that reflects staffing needs across all sectors has never been clearer. It is critical that there is a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU post-Brexit, so firms have the capacity to invest and grow here in the UK.”


Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed, commented, “Thousands of employers are knocking their heads against the ceiling of full employment - and many are being forced to ramp up wages in order to prize recruits away from their current jobs.


“Despite the modest increase in the unemployment rate, thousands of jobs are going unfilled and the number of unemployed people per vacancy remains at a record low of 1.6.


“But Britain’s labour market, which for years has relied on European workers to plug gaps, is coming under increasing strain as the number of EU workers leaving the country over the past year shot up to its highest level in more than two decades.


“Though the exodus remains steady rather than a stampede, many of the Polish workers who came to the UK in search of a better job are being tempted home. At 6.7% a year, average salaries in Poland are rising more than twice as fast as British paypackets.


“While UK wage growth is finally picking up and this will be a welcome windfall for workers, the increasing number of Europeans heading for the exit will ring alarm bells for many of their bosses.”


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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