UK Unemployment Falls to 7-year Low

May 14, 2015

The rate of unemployment across the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2008, according to the latest official figures.

Between January and March there were a total of 1.83 million registered as being out of work throughout the country, a figure down 35,000 as compared with the previous three-month period.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also revealed that there was a rise in the number of Britons in work during the first quarter of 2015, with 31.1 million UK residents now in employment.

That figure equates to 73.5 per cent of the overall population, which is the highest proportional employment rate recorded since numbers on the subject were first gathered in 1971.

Furthermore, it looks as if pay rates are rising nationwide, with an average UK employee seeing their income, excluding bonuses, increase by 2.2 per cent in the first quarter. Where bonuses were taken into account, the average pay rise figure across the country was put at 1.9 per cent.

The overall rate of unemployment for the UK stood at 6.8 per cent at the end of March 2014 but by the same point a year later was down to 5.5 per cent.

“This is a testament to our long-term economic plan,” said Priti Patel, the UK’s new work and pensions minister.

“The work the government has been doing with our focus on job creation, creating the right economic conditions for businesses to expand and grow so they can employ people again, so this is very welcome news today.”

“With consumer price inflation stuck at zero, workers are experiencing solid real pay rises for the first time since the recession,” said PwC chief economist John Hawksworth.

In Scotland, politicians welcomed news that the rate of youth unemployment north of the border reached a 7-year low in the first three months of the year and that there were 42,000 more Scots employed in the period as compared with 12 months earlier.

“I am very pleased indeed to see such a strong performance in our youth employment and unemployment rates,” said Scotland’s secretary for fair work Roseanna Cunningham.

“While there has been a slight increase in unemployment this quarter, this will be accounted for in part by falling levels of economic inactivity, which is at an all-time low, as people join the labour market and start looking for work.”

John Baird

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