UK Unemployment

Labour Market Statistics
March 21 2013 – The unemployment rate stands at 7.8% – unchanged over the quarter and 0.5% down over the year. 29.73 million people were in work in November 2012 to January 2013 according to the labour force survey (LFS). The number of people employed was 131,000 higher this quarter and 590,000 higher than last year.

The working age employment rate is 71.5% – up 0.3% on the last quarter and up 1.1% over the year.

ILO-defined unemployment in November 2012 to January 2013 was 2.52 million (7.8%) – up by 7,000 on the previous quarter but down 136,000 on the same quarter last year.
The claimant count for key out-of-work benefits was 1,542,000 in February – down by 1,500 on the previous month and down 67,500 on the year.

Earnings growth over the year weekly pay in January 2013 (including bonuses) was 1.2%.
Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, said:

“It’s a credit to businesses that the private sector is employing one and a quarter million more people than when this Government took office, helping us compete in the global race.

“Today’s figures show that against a difficult economic backdrop we’re helping people to move off benefits and into work.

“There are still tough challenges ahead which is why we’re working hard to give jobseekers all the help and support they need to realise their aspiration of finding a job.”
Mark Beatson, Chief Economist at CIPD commented:

“This month’s figures continue the trend that we have seen for the last year or so. The number of people employed has increased again to record levels – although the employment rate still remains below its pre-recession peak – and this has happened during a period when we have seen little evidence of economic growth. The number of unemployed people has increased slightly but this could be the result of welfare to work changes intensifying job search activity among those out of work and claiming benefits, and in the long term this should be beneficial to the economy by boosting labour supply.

“One of the explanations as to why employment has continued to grow is the declining real value of earnings. The annual rate of growth of average earnings was 1.2% in January, which was 1.5 percentage points below the rate of inflation. As a result, those in work continue to see their living standards squeezed.

“It will be interesting to see whether the forecast accompanying today’s Budget from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility anticipates employment growth on this scale to continue when economic growth resumes, or whether they expect productivity to increase and more moderate rates of employment growth.

“The employment figures for 16-24 year olds remain a matter for concern. The total number of unemployed 16-24 year olds has increased since last month’s figures. Young people appear to be missing out on the jobs growth we have seen, risking the future supply of talent and potentially leaving a permanent scar on the UK labour market. The mismatch between young people’s behaviour and employer expectations at the recruitment stage is part of the problem and via our Learning to Work programme we are seeking to address this disconnect.”

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