UK unemployment falls to its lowest in more than a decade

Posted by Ben Tumilty in Neighbourhood on 16 November 2016 - Ben is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

The three months to September saw UK unemployment figures hit an 11-year low of just 4.8%, based on statistics provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). This is down from 5.3% in the same period of 2015, and dropped 37,000 from the previous three months of the year.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds is pleased by the figures, saying: “Yet again we have a strong set of figures, with employment continuing to run at a record high and unemployment falling to an 11-year low.”

Continuing, he mentions that “the measures we have taken have put our economy in a position of strength, and we will work to ensure more people can benefit from these opportunities as we build a country that works for everyone.”

Hinds also refers to growth being fuelled by an influx of full-time professional jobs – however, the figures also show a slump in employment growth. Just 49,000 individuals were given jobs during the three month period.

This may sound promising, but compared to the figure of 172,000 between April and June, it looks concerning. David Freeman of the ONS believes that the job market may be cooling, and this is reflected in the figures released.

There appears to be a great deal of posturing from both the Conservatives and Labour, as Labour MP Debbie Abrahams explains that as recently as yesterday, more than 7 million of us work in insecure jobs. But the figures do reflect a slightly strange situation, as the two main bits of data suggest slightly contradictory outcomes.

The fact that unemployment has dropped is positive. The slow in employment growth is obviously negative. And to add to the mix, the number of people claiming employment benefits increased by 9,800 in October – the biggest rise since May.

All of these occurring at the same time may suggest an increase in the number of people on zero-hour or part-time contracts, as the increase in these contracts would reduce unemployment but at the same time make more people eligible for jobseekers allowance and other similar benefits.

Without knowing precise employment statistics and parameters it is difficult to surmise the exact root of the figures released by the ONS and the impacts of Brexit on the employment situation. With that in mind, watch this space!

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