United Kingdom unemployment rate hits historic low as wages grow more than expected

by Frankie Norman August 17, 2017, 7:50
United Kingdom unemployment rate hits historic low as wages grow more than expected

But companies are still hiring workers, sending the total number of unemployed down to 1.48m, a fall of 57,000 over the past three months and the lowest absolute figure since 2005.

Inflation has eased slightly since May when it hit an nearly four-year high of 2.9 percent, but prices are still rising faster than wages.

Real earnings fell by 0.5%, owing to the rate of inflation at 2.6 percent, the ONS figures showed.

"For April to June 2017, there were 32.07 million people in work, 125,000 more than for January to March 2017 and 338,000 more than for a year earlier", the statement said.

The unemployment rate in the United Kingdom fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years in June, while the number of European Union nationals working in Britain hit a record high.

"Despite the strong jobs picture, however, real earnings continue to decline".

The unemployment rate (the proportion of those in work plus those unemployed, that were unemployed) was 4.4%, down from 4.9% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Rising prices and stagnant pay are a toxic combination for working people".

Meanwhile, claimant count fell by 4,200, compared with forecasts of a fall of 3,700.

It comes a day after official data showed inflation remained unchanged in July at 2.6%.

The number of people working on so-called zero-hours contracts also fell by 20,000 to 883,000 compared to the same time past year.

Over one in five, 21.1 per cent, of UK-born people were economically inactive in the three months to the end of June, the ONS said, against 16.1 per cent of people born in European Union countries, and 27.8 per cent of people born in the rest of the world.

The figures are significant as they show a continuation in the squeeze on living costs, largely thanks to the collapse in the pound following the Brexit vote, which makes imported goods more expensive.

She said it was time to "boost wages by scrapping the pay restrictions in the public sector, investing in infrastructure, and increasing the minimum wage".

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