Unemployment falls to 6.5%

16 Jul 14
The unemployment rate fell to 6.5% in the three months to May, the lowest it has been since late 2008, official figures revealed today.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 30.64 million people in work, 254,000 more than in the three months to February and 929,000 more than at the same point last year.

Youth unemployment was also down, falling by 141,000 over the year, while the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has been falling for 31 successive months and is down by 133,700 over the year.

Employment minister Esther McVey said employment was now at one of its highest ever rates.

‘It’s clear that the government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is the right one,’ she said.

‘With an employment rate which has never been higher, record women in work and more young people in jobs, the resilience of the country during the downturn is being rewarded. We know there is more to do, and the best way to do so is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.’

But the Trades Union Congress noted that, while unemployment was falling, so was pay growth, which prompted questions about the quality of the jobs being created.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘If all the recovery can deliver is low-paid, low-productivity jobs – many of which don’t offer enough hours to get by – then it will pass most working people by and Britain’s long-term economic prospects will be seriously diminished.’

According to the ONS, average weekly earnings increased by 0.7 percentage points in the three months to May, the lowest rise since current records began.




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