Quarterly unemployment rate falls
Wed, 16 May 2012
The unemployment rate in the UK for Q1 2012 was 8.2%, down from 8.4% in the previous quarter.
The number of people aged 16 to 64 in work was 29.23m people, up 105,000 on the quarter, equating to an employment rate of 70.5%, up from 70.3%. The number of 16-24-year-olds who have left full-time education and are seeking work dropped by 24,000 to 707,000.
A statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also notes that there was a fall of 13,700 in the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants between March and April 2012.
Total pay including bonuses rose by 0.6% on a year earlier, the lowest rate of growth since early 2009, but excluding bonuses, the rate of growth was 1.6%, unchanged on the previous three-month period.
Employment minister Chris Grayling says the figures are “a welcome step in the right direction”, noting that “we still face significant international uncertainty so we need to hold firm on our current economic strategy and continue to do everything we can to ensure unemployment continues to fall”.
Nigel Meager, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, is more cautious: “The macro-economy continues to stagnate and employers remain very cautious in hiring, with vacancies at an historically low level and falling again this month. Further, the bulk of the public spending cuts are still to take effect.
“All this suggests a more pessimistic interpretation of the latest data, which may simply reflect growing numbers of people taking small chunks of freelance or casual work because they are unable to find more secure employment.”