Number of Britons working hits a record high following employment boom with 1,000 people finding jobs every day
- Office for Statistics said new highs were set for proportion in work at 75.7%
- Figures show unemployment rate remains at joint record low since 1975 of 4.2%
- Biggest increase seen in 50-to-64 group as fewer people are choosing to retire
- Part-time workers decreased despite popularity of ‘gig economy’ jobs like Uber
Record numbers of Britons are in work following a jobs boom that has seen 1,000 people a day finding employment.
Official figures showed 32.4 million people were in work in the three months to May, as the economy set a series of records.
The Office for National Statistics said new highs were set for the proportion of people in work – at 75.7 per cent – and the number of job vacancies. The unemployment rate remains at a joint record low since 1975 of 4.2 per cent.
The ONS figures showed that further records were set as the employment rate for women, at 71.3 per cent, was the joint highest since records began, while more than four in five men are in work, the highest proportion since 1991.
Employment rose for all age groups except 18 to 24-year-olds, with the biggest increase seen in the 50-to-64 group as fewer people are choosing to retire ahead of an increase in the state pension age.
Record numbers of Britons are in work following a jobs boom that has seen 1,000 people a day finding employment (file photo)
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And of the 388,000 increase in employment compared to a year earlier, the vast majority – 324,000 – were for full-time roles. Between March and May, the number of full-time workers increased to a new high of 23.9 million.
The 388,000 figure is the equivalent of 1,063 jobs being created every day.
Part-time workers decreased on the previous three months by 40,000 to 8.5million, despite the popularity of ‘gig economy’ jobs working for firms such as Uber and Deliveroo. There were only 1.41 million unemployed people who were actively looking for work between March and May, a fall of 84,000 on last year – driven by a rise in the number of women who had managed to find a job.
Tara Sinclair, an economist for global jobs website Indeed, said: ‘The fuel on which the labour market runs – people wanting to get into work – is getting scarcer. So it’s both impressive and surprising that it is still managing to meet the demands of the economy’s job creation engine.’
Britain’s unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent puts other European countries in the shade. The average across the eurozone economy, according to official statistics agency Eurostat, was 8.4 per cent in May, while France has a rate of 9.2 per cent and Italy 10.7 per cent.
Part-time workers decreased on the previous three months by 40,000 to 8.5million, despite the popularity of ‘gig economy’ jobs working for firms such as Uber and Deliveroo (file photo)
Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: ‘The eight-year trend shows the vast majority of roles are in full-time, permanent work that’s higher-skilled – which means higher-paid too’
The only blip on the UK figures was a slowing of wage growth to 2.7 per cent, down from 2.8 per cent in the previous three months.
Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: ‘Making sure our jobs market works for everyone is at the heart of our work and the Modern Industrial strategy, and with over 800,000 job vacancies we have a buoyant jobs market with plenty of opportunities available.
‘The eight-year trend shows the vast majority of roles are in full-time, permanent work that’s higher-skilled – which means higher-paid too.’
Stephen Clarke, an analyst at think-tank the Resolution Foundation, said: ‘The welcome news on employment is particularly good for those who are being brought into labour market either for the first time, or after a long spell out of work.’
The booming jobs market poses a conundrum for the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, which decides whether to raise interest rates. Although the jobs growth is encouraging, the slowing rises in pay could mean an interest rate hike will hamper consumer spending.
A drop in stay-at-home carers led to a decline in the number of people not in work and not looking to work. Just 2 million people were choosing to stay unemployed to look after their family or home, the lowest since records began.
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