UK unemployment rate lowest for almost 10 years

Posted on 17 Dec 2015 by Fred Tongue

In the three months leading up to October, the unemployment rate in the UK fell to the lowest point in almost a decade at 5.2%.

This is the lowest jobless rate since the three month period to January 2006, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Between August and October the  number of people out of work fell by 110,000 to 1.71 million.

A poll of economists by Reuters expected the unemployment rate to remain at 5.3%, the same as a month earlier.

The ONS figures also show there has been an increase in EU citizens working in the UK, with an extra 324,000, bringing the total number of EU workers in the UK to 2.02 million.

The number of workers who were neither EU or British nationals was “little changed” at 1.2 million.

This time last year the unemployment rate was 6%.

Despite the increase in the amount of people in work, the rate of pay grew at its slowest rate since the January to March period, at 2.4%.

The number of vacancies in the UK job market is at 747,000, the highest number since records began in 2001, according to the ONS.

In another firstm the number of hours worked per week topped 1 billion. According to ONS statistician, David Freeman, this is due to the increase in the amount of people in work because, “average weekly hours per person are fairly stable.”

CBI Director for Employment and Skills, Neil Carberry commented: “The unemployment rate has fallen to pre-recession levels for the first time as the labour market continues to perform strongly, with youth unemployment also declining.

“The UK’s strong performance on job creation reflects the fact that our flexible labour market enables firms to create jobs easily and scale up production. With some significant labour market interventions like the apprenticeship levy and National Living Wage on the horizon, it is important this flexibility is not diluted further.”