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UK unemployment hits 45 year low

UK unemployment hits 45 year low

Official figures show that unemployment in the UK is at its lowest level for 45 years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of people out of work in the past three months has now been falling for five years and is now at 3.8% – lower than at any time since the end of 1974. Employment also jumped by 99,000 in the three months to March, to 32.7m with the number of people working now the highest on record at 76.1%.

The number of people in work continues to reach near record levels as fewer women retire between the ages of 60 and 65, new figures reveal. Unemployment fell by 65,000 to 1.3m, continuing a general trend which started in early 2012.

Average earnings increased by 3.2% in the year to February, compared with 3.5% on the previous month while the number of economically inactive people in the UK fell by 23,000 in the latest quarter to 8.6m, a rate of just under 21%, one of the lowest on record. The number of vacancies fell by 16,000 to 846,000.

The UK’s employment rate of 76% is at a joint record high, while for women it has reached the highest on record at 71%. The increase is partly due to changes in the state pension age for women, resulting in fewer retiring between the ages of 60 and 65, the ONS said.

The number of people in work has increased by 354,000 over the past year, entirely due to full-time employment. Part-time working fell by 18,000 to 8.5m, while self-employment increased by 180,000 to just under 5m.