News | Published September 10 2019

Wages rise as employment hits highest level since 1971

According to figures published today by the Office for National Statistics, the UK employment rate is at the highest level since comparable records began in 1971.

The employment rate currently stands at 76.1 per cent, 0.6 per cent higher than last year. 

The unemployment rate fell 0.2 per cent from the year before and now stands at 3.8 per cent. This translates to a gross figure of 32.78 million people over the age of 16 in employment.

Alongside these positive employment statistics, average weekly earnings have also risen, with the estimated annual growth rate standing at 3.8 per cent for regular pay excluding bonuses. 

In terms of annual pay, the ONS announced a rise of 2.1 per cent in total pay and a 1.9 per cent rise in regular pay.

According to the ONS, this rise in employment has been driven by an increase in the number of women in work. 

Explaining this trend, the ONS highlighted the increased state pension age, which has led to fewer people retiring between the ages of 60 and 65. 

Over the last year, there were 284,000 more women in work, leading to a total of 15.52 million. 

Employment amongst men grew by 86,000, leading to a total of 17.26 million, a rise driven mostly by an increase in the number of self-employed workers.

In terms of vacancies, the total number has fallen by 23,000 over the last quarter, leading to a reduction of 33,000 from the previous year. 

The total number of vacancies between June and August 2019 now stands at 812,000.

Responding to this data, David Freeman, the head of labour market statistics for the ONS, said: “The employment rate has remained fairly constant at a joint record high for some months now, while the unemployment rate was last lower at the end of 1974.

“Vacancies continued to fall back from recent record highs, with much of this decline coming from small businesses.”

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
September 10 2019

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