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Latest employment figures

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The continued fall in unemployment was welcomed by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Alistair Darling today. The latest UK Labour Market Statistics show that ILO unemployment has dropped by 134,000 on the year and by 14,000 on the quarter. The claimant count has also fallen to 950,300 – the lowest for over 25 years – it is down by 120,800 on the year and 12,800 in July.

In addition:

  • Employment is up by 250,000 on the year and by 75,000 for the quarter
  • In July there were 250,900 new vacancies in Jobcentres
  • The latest quarterly redundancy figures stand at 169,000, this is 11,000 fewer than the corresponding period last year

Alistair Darling said, “Today’s figures show that the UK labour market remains robust. Thanks to Britain’s strong and stable economy the employment rate remains one of the highest in the world. And while we have seen a number of redundancies over recent months, new jobs are coming in every day across the country.

“Even though unemployment is falling, we recognise that some sectors are experiencing difficulties. But today’s figures reflect Britain’s economic strength underpinned by policies that have delivered low inflation, sound public finances and the lowest unemployment level since the 1970’s.

“Our policies and programmes remain focused on helping people who have lost their jobs get back into work again, as well as helping everyone who can work to do so.”

The figures show:

  • The number of people in work is 28.18 million
  • The employment rate now stands at 74.8 per cent, 0.2 percentage points higher than this time last year
  • The ILO unemployment rate for April to June was 5.0 per cent, a fall of 0.5 percentage points over the year
  • The ILO unemployment level is 1.48 million, 134,000 lower than a year ago.
  • The claimant count stands at 950,300, with the level remaining at 3.2 per cent

The headline average earnings growth rate was 4.8 per cent in the three months to June, 0.2 percentage points higher than the May rate.

Commenting on the new unemployment figures Edward Davey MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said, “This is yet more evidence of an economy going in two directions. The high pound is still slaughtering manufacturing jobs, and hitting vital long term investment. This shows the lunacy of Gordon Brown’s strategy of talking up the pound after the election.”

Shadow trade and industry secretary David Heathcoat-Amory of the Conservative Party says he is pleased about the overall unemployment figures.

But he says the statistics also confirm that the manufacturing industry is in a very serious state, with accelerating job losses.

He adds: “Manufacturing is the sector that Labour forgot and have damaged by piling on extra business taxes and a higher regulatory burden.”

TUC General Secretary John Monks said, “These figures are a testimony to the underlying strength and stability of the UK economy.

“But manufacturing job losses are gathering pace and this cannot be sustained in the longer term without damaging the wider economy. The Bank should cut interest rates again next month and the Government urgently needs to consider a regional development package to tackle the current crisis in manufacturing.”

CBI chief Digby Jones said the latest earnings data suggest there remains room for a further cut in interest rates.

“Inflation remains well under control,” he said. “That is good news because it suggests there remains scope for a further cut in interest rates to soften the impact of the global slowdown.

“Employment has risen overall but manufacturing has seen more than 120,000 job losses over the past year. The sector is facing serious problems and there are real signs that service sector growth is starting to come off the boil.”


See also Labour Market Statistics August 2001 – from the Office of National Statistics

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