Unemployment down to lowest level for seven years

11 Nov 15

Unemployment fell by over 100,000 in the third quarter of the year with the total number of people out of work at its lowest level since the three months to July 2008, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

According to today’s UK labour market bulletin, there were 31.2 million people in work in the quarter (July-September), around 419,000 more than for a year earlier.

The number of people out of work stands at 1.75 million, while the unemployment rate is 5.3%, down from 5.6% in the previous three months.

Welcoming the figures, employment minister Priti Patel said the employment rate was now at a record high of 73.7%, while the unemployment rate was approaching pre-recession levels.

“Employment is at a record-breaking high, and wages have continued to grow strongly, demonstrating that this government is delivering for hardworking people,” she said.

“With 2 million more people in work since 2010, the unemployment rate at its lowest in seven years, and the number of people on one of the main out-of-work benefits down by a million since 2010, it is clear that this government is transforming lives for the better, and creating the higher wage, lower welfare society that British people want to see.”

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said the fall in unemployment raised questions about when the Bank of England would increase interest rates.

“With 2015 thus far having proven a very solid year for the labour market (the unemployment rate is nearly at pre-crisis levels and wage growth has remained strong), many will wonder what impact this has on the Bank of England and its interest rate decisions,” economist Nina Skero said.

“It is reasonable for the BoE to wait for global headwinds to settle before raising interest rates. Having said that, as is evident from today’s data release, the UK economy is coming close to a position where it is becoming difficult to justify such low interest rates. Keeping these factors in mind, Cebr continues to expect a first rate rise in mid-2016.”

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