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Minister welcomes latest employment figures

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Minister for Work at the Department for Work and Pensions Nick Brown today welcomed the latest Labour Market Statistics, which show strong growth in jobs, high levels of vacancies and a continuing downward trend in unemployment. Employment has reached a new record of 28.18 million, while ILO unemployment has dropped below 5.0 per cent for the first time since records began in 1984.

Nick Brown said:

“These figures confirm that we are moving in the right direction. Over the last four years, employment has grown by 1.285 million. Men and women in every part of the country have benefited from this growth. The number of full-time jobs is up by 948,000 since the spring of 1997, while part-time jobs are up 338,000.

“This diversity is particularly important when it comes to helping those who are not yet active in the labour market, since we need to have a range of jobs to suit people’s individual circumstances. The new Department for Work and Pensions is particularly focusing its efforts on the number of inactive people and removing the barriers to their employment. As well as making sure they know about the jobs that are available we are providing advice, training, childcare and other support. We are giving people the confidence they need to help themselves into jobs.”

The number of people in work in March to May rose by 92,000 on the previous three months, and by 267,000 over the year. The employment rate now stands at 74.9 per cent, 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous quarter and 0.3 percentage points higher than this time last year.

Unemployment continues on a strong downward trend. The ILO unemployment rate for March to May has fallen by 0.3 percentage points, and now stands at 4.9 per cent, down 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier. The ILO unemployment level is 1.45 million, down 82,000 on the previous three months and down 208,000 compared to a year ago.

The claimant count also continues to fall. 963,700 people – 3.2 per cent of the workforce – were claiming benefit in June, compared to 975,700 in May. The figure has fallen by 130,700 and 0.4 percentage points over the year and is now the lowest since 1975.

The headline average earnings growth rate was 4.5 per cent in the three months to May, 0.7 percentage points lower than the April rate.

Background to Labour Market Statistics: July 2001

Over the last year employment was up by 267 thousand and unemployment fell.

Employment continues to grow strongly. LFS employment is up by 267 thousand in the year to March to May. New vacancies – at 239.2 thousand – continue at very high levels.

Both ILO and claimant unemployment fell. ILO unemployment by 82 thousand on the quarter, the claimant count by 12.0 thousand on the month.

Annual earnings growth was 4.5% in May, down from 5.2% in April.

Employment is growing strongly and the number of new vacancies is high.

  • LFS employment in the March to May quarter grew by 92 thousand and is up by 267 thousand on the year. There are now a record 28.18 million people in employment.
  • The number of new Jobcentre vacancies continues at high levels. In February alone there were 239 thousand notified to Jobcentres and 2,742 thousand over the last year.
  • The workforce jobs series is not showing such rapid employment growth. In the year to March job growth was 119 thousand. However, these figures have tended to be erratic.

Unemployment fell on both measures in the latest period and over the year.

  • ILO unemployment fell 208 thousand on the year and by 82 thousand on the quarter.
  • ILO unemployment is at 1.453 million – the lowest since spring 1979.
  • The ILO unemployment rate fell to 4.9% – the first time below 5% since the 1970s.
  • The claimant count fell by 12.0 thousand in June to 963.7 thousand. The rate was 3.2% – the lowest levels and rate since 1975..
  • Over the last year the employment rise of 267 thousand was larger than the fall in ILO unemployment of 208 thousand because the number of people in the labour force grew – by 59 thousand.
  • Similarly, over the last quarter, the employment growth of 92 thousand was large than the fall in ILO unemployment of 82 thousand. Again this was because the number of people in the labour force grew – by 11 thousand.

Earnings growth over the year to May was 4.5%, down from 5.2% in April

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