UK unemployment falls again

Posted by Tom Line in Personal Finance on 20 April 2015 - Tom worked as a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile until 2015

The UK national unemployment rate fell in again in February, marking a six-and-a-half year low. In the three months to February the number of people out of work decreased by 76,000 to 1.84 million, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The rate of unemployment now stands at 5.6%, falling from 5.8% in the three months to November 2014. This is the lowest rate since June 2008. There are now 31.05 million people in work, taking the UK’s employment rate to 73.4%, the highest since records began in 1971.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte said, “The jobless rate has dropped to a six-year low, employment is at record levels and job vacancies have risen 20 per cent in the last year. The recovery is being driven by full time work in the private sector, far outstripping public sector job losses”.

The figures will give the current administration a boost just three weeks to until the general election. Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, tweeted that employment is the “bedrock of economic security” and that more jobs will be at the heart of a future conservative government.

For those already in employment, there is also good news. Average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 1.8% in the three months to February, compared with the same period a year earlier. Including bonuses, annual earnings growth increased 1.7% in the three months to February.

"It is very welcome news that wage increases are now higher than inflation and are boosting living standards”, said David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce.

Figures from the ONS show that the rate of UK inflation currently stands at 0%, the lowest figure since records began in 1989. The country is now expected to enter a period of falling prices, as the Eurozone and the US have experienced recently.

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