Unemployment rate hits seven-year low

14 Oct 15

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since the middle of 2008, official figures have revealed today.

Labour market figures published by the Office for National Statistics today for the three months to August found that the jobless rate was to 5.4%, down from 5.6% in the three months to July. This is the lowest rate since the second quarter of 2008.

The number of people out of work fell by 79,000 to 1.77 million between June to August, and there were 198,000 fewer unemployed people compared to the same period the previous year.

The employment rate has now reached 73.6%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971, according to the ONS.

Welcoming the figures, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that having more people in work than ever before was “a credit to British business, and a credit to the hardworking people of this country”.

He added: “This positive picture is replicated up and down the country, demonstrating that this one nation government is delivering a society with opportunity and security for all at its heart.”

Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, said it was encouraging to see unemployment falling again, after a pause earlier this year.

But he warned that there was still significant variation in how the jobs revival had been shared across the country, as many parts of the UK remain a long way short of their pre-recession levels.

“As recovery builds, attention will turn to who is benefiting from it. The strong recent performance of wages in the low-paying retail sector is encouraging, but the picture is much less promising in manufacturing and construction. Meanwhile, ongoing pay constraint in the public sector is likely to translate into increasing recruitment and retention difficulties in the coming months,” Whittaker said.

  • Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith Ugwumadu joined Public Finance International and Public Finance online as a reporter after stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express. Currently, she writes about public finance, public services and economics.

    Follow her on @JudithUgwumadu_

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