Unemployment rate falls again

17 Dec 14
Unemployment continued to fall over the three months to October, taking the rate to 6%, according to official figures published today.

Between August and October this year, there were 1.96 million unemployed people, 63,000 fewer than for May to July and 455,000 fewer than the same period the preceding year when the unemployment rate was 7.4%.

There were 22.54 million people working full time, 560,000 more than a year earlier, and 8.25 million people working part time, 28,000 more than a year earlier.

The figures also showed that private sector regular pay rose by 1.8%, ahead of the 1.3% rate of inflation.

Welcoming the statistics, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘These remarkable figures show that our long-term economic plan to create a better more prosperous future for Britain is working. Behind them are countless stories of individual hard-work and determination, with more people than ever before feeling financially secure.

‘What we can see at the end of 2014, is that our welfare reforms are ensuring that people have the skills and opportunities to move into work. Whether that’s work experience for young people to get their foot on the career ladder, the benefit cap encouraging people to get a job, or the Work Programme which is helping more people than any previous jobs scheme.’

Geraint Johnes, director of Lancaster University’s Work Foundation, agreed that the figures were ‘almost uniformly good news’ and suggested a restoration of normality in the labour market.

‘Arguably the most significant development this month has been the rise in the rate of growth of weekly earnings – up 1.8% on a year ago,’ Johnes said.

‘This increase is now well above the rate of price inflation. The increase has been particularly marked in finance and business services (3.0%), with earnings in the construction industry also rising quickly (2.7%). The recovery in finance comes on the back of a steady increase over the last three months. In manufacturing, however, the rate of growth of earnings has moderated somewhat, reflecting muted growth in the production sector.’


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