The number of unemployed in the UK fell by 18,000 in the June-August period to 2.49 million, official figures show.
The unemployment rate drops to 7.7% down from 7.8% the previous quarter.The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month fell by 41,700 to 1.35 million.
The ONS also reports that average earnings rose by 0.7% in the year to August, 0.5% down on July. The unemployment rate has become a key economic indicator for the Bank of England which, under its recently appointed new governor, Mark Carney, is targeting the unemployment rate. It says it will not consider raising interest rates from their record low of 0.5% until it falls to 7%. The number of people in work, both full-time and part-time, reached a record high of 29.87 million in the quarter, up 155,000.
The ONS looks at demand for full-time work and whether part-time workers would rather work longer hours. Its figures showed that almost 1.5 million people were part-time because they could not find full-time jobs, the highest figure since records began in 1992. Job vacancies also rose by 6,600 in the period to 541,000, the highest for five years.
There was a sharp difference in the number of men and women in part-time employment, with male part-timers increasing by 21,000 and women in part-time work falling by 13,000. But more women were finding full-time work than men, with male full-time employment up by 69,000 compared with a rise of 79,000 for women.
Youth unemployment remains just below the one-million mark, with 958,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds, down by 1,000 over the quarter.The number of people unemployed for more than a year fell by 15,000 to 900,000. Those without work for between six months to a year rose by 29,000 to 446,000, but there was a fall of 32,000 people unemployed for up to six months, leaving 1.1 million in that position.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) said the jobs data showed the recovery was “job-lite”. The IoD’s chief economist, Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “Today’s labour market figures are not surprising. Just as employment losses during the recession were lower than expected, so too are employment gains with recovery. This isn’t a jobless recovery but it is a job-lite one.” The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) gave a cautious welcome to the figures.
Its chief economist, David Kern, said: “Although concerns remain over youth and long-term employment, the figures show that Britain’s labour market is strong and flexible, and that the economy should record satisfactory growth in the third quarter. The large fall in inactivity is particularly pleasing, as more people are returning to the workforce and are looking for jobs.”
He added that he expected the unemployment rate to continue to fall steadily and for the 7% unemployment rate targeted by the Bank of England to be reached in the autumn of 2015, a year earlier than the Bank had indicated.
Information taken from BBC.