Talent Market Update UK Q1
Figures for January–March 2014 show employment has continued to rise. Unemployment numbers have continued to fall, decreasing by 133,000 from last quarter, and by 309,000 for the same period last year. There were 85,000 fewer economically inactive people aged between 16 and 64 in January–March 2014 than the preceding three months. The average weekly pay including bonuses was 1.7% higher for the same three-month period than last year.
The job market shows promising signs of continued post-slump recovery. Unemployment has fallen by over 300,000 year-on-year and the participation rate is up to 72.7% among people aged between 16 and 64. The rate of economically inactive people was 21.9% for January to March – with 85,000 fewer people inactive than the preceding three months – and has not been lower since the end of 1990. This leaves 8.85 million economically inactive people in the UK for the period, which is the lowest figure since May–July 2003.
This has left the unemployment rate at 6.8% of the UK’s labour force, down from 6.9% for October–December 2013, and below 7% for the first time in five years. Employment numbers were 283,000 higher for January–March 2014 than the preceding quarter, and 722,000 higher than a year earlier.
The number of UK residents claiming unemployment benefits also fell by 25,000 between March and April. These figures show the UK economy and job market is gradually improving, but there is still progress to be made. For example, the claimant rate continues to decrease and the number of people claiming benefits for April 2014 was 399,600 lower than the previous year. But this figure is still more than 300,000 higher than the pre-downturn low point of 778,500 in February 2008. Average weekly earnings have also risen by 1.7% to £474, but this represents only a modest growth in wages following an inflation rate of 1.6% in March.