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UK — First quarterly fall in unemployment since May 2008

17 March 2010

According to the latest labour market statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the employment rate for the three months to January 2010 was 72.2 per cent. The rate is down 0.3 on the quarter and it has not been lower since the three months to November 1996. The number of people in employment fell by 54,000 on the quarter to reach 28.86 million.

The number of people in full-time employment fell by 54,000 on the quarter to reach 21.16 million but the number of people in part-time employment was unchanged at 7.70 million. There were 1.04 million employees and self-employed people working part-time because they could not find a fulltime job, up 20,000 on the quarter.


The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 on the quarter to reach 7.8 per cent for the three months to January 2010. This was the first quarterly fall in the unemployment rate since the three months to May 2008. The number of unemployed people fell by 33,000 over the quarter to reach 2.45 million. There has not been a larger quarterly fall in the number of unemployed people since the three months to July 2007.

However, the number of people unemployed for more than 12 months increased by 61,000 over the quarter to reach 687,000, the highest figure since the three months to August 1997. The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (the claimant count) decreased by 32,300 between January and February 2010 to reach 1.59 million. This is the largest monthly fall in the claimant count since November 1997.

The inactivity rate for the three months to January 2010 was 21.5 per cent. The rate has not been higher since the three months to October 2004 and it is up 0.4 on the quarter. The number of inactive people of working age increased by 149,000 over the quarter to reach a record high of 8.16 million. This increase in inactivity was largely driven by the number of students not in the labour market which has increased by 98,000 on the quarter to reach 2.31 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1993.

The number of vacancies for the three months to February 2010 was 480,000, up 39,000 over the quarter. There were increases in vacancies in most industrial sectors.

The earnings annual growth rate for total pay (including bonuses) was 0.9 per cent for the three months to January 2010, up from 0.7 per cent for the three months to December 2009. The earnings annual growth rate for regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 1.4 per cent for the three months to January 2010, up from 1.2 per cent for the three months to December 2009.

To read the full Labour Market Statistics please click here

 

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