Employment at all time high but West Midlands unemployment rises

Marcus Newton
August 17, 2017

But the figures on wage growth showed the challenge facing Prime Minister Theresa May and her government, with households feeling the strain of rising prices since last year's Brexit vote.

Unemployment fell to a new 42-year low as employment increased by another 125,000 people in the three months to June.

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.

United Kingdom unemployment declined to 4.4% in the three months to June from 4.5% the previous month and compared with consensus forecasts of an unchanged rate. The number of those unemployed was 57,000 down on January to March and 157,000 fewer than the April to June past year.

Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 2.1%, both including and excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

It means 32.07 million people are now in work across the United Kingdom with an employment rate of 75.1 per cent, the highest rate since comparable records began in 1971.

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The Office for National Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was 4.4 per cent in the three months to June, down from 4.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

Once bonuses are stripped out, pay expanded by 2.1% over the period, rising from 2%. However, while the figure was better than expected, wage growth remained well behind inflation, which held steady at 2.6% in July after hitting a four-year high of 2.9% in May.

That translated to a 0.8 per cent fall in total hours worked last month.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, was quoted by Sky News as saying: "Worryingly for consumers, higher employment is still not translating into higher pay".

It is still slightly behind the United Kingdom rate, which also fell from 4.5% to 4.4%.

This year has been strong for employment growth so far with 247,000 more people now in work since January.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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