Britain's female unemployment rate at lowest since 1971

16 Mai, 2019, 16:46 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • UK wage growth stalls despite record employment

The UK's employment rate of 76% is at a joint record high, while for women it has reached the highest on record at 71%.

The number of temporary employees in the United Kingdom fell by 3.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis to a total of 1.52 million in the three-month period from January through to March 2019 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics. The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8 percent, lower than 21.1 percent from previous year.

The employment minister, Alok Sharma, said: "Maintaining our record employment rate with unemployment falling again to just 3.8%, its lowest rate since 1974, once again shows the success of our balanced approach to managing the economy".

Average weekly earnings including bonuses rose 3.2%, shy of expectations of a 3.4% rise.

For men the rate was 3.9%, the lowest since mid 1975.

Ben Brettell, senior economist, Hargreaves Lansdown said the unemployment figures were strong given the issues facing the economy. A majority of female workers (53%) working part-time, probably because, as the ONS puts it, of childcare and the fact "in general fewer men than women engage in caring activities in the home".

Brexit-related uncertainty was blamed for a rise in self-employment, which returned to its record high of 15.1% of all jobs, last seen in 2017.

The strength of the labour market has pushed wages up more quickly than the Bank of England has forecast, leading some economists to think it might raise interest rates faster than investors expect once the Brexit uncertainty clears.

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But Prof Geraint Johnes, at Lancaster University Management School, added a note of caution.

The number of women in work rose by 114,000 in the first quarter of this year, while the number of men in work actually dropped by 15,000.

"Whether these shifts indicate a longer term increase in precarity will need to be monitored carefully over the coming months".

The ONS said output per hour fell by an annual 0.2% in the first quarter of 2019, its third consecutive fall.

While average real wages - adjusted for inflation - were the highest since December 2010, the TUC said the rate of increase was slowing.

"This will come as a relief to employers who have been subjected to increasing pressure from workers to raise pay without accompanying productivity growth", said Davies. "The last thing workers need is another hit in the pocket when real wages are still lower than a decade ago".

"The employment rate for young people in Scotland rose to 59.3%, higher than the United Kingdom rate of 54.6%".

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