The number of people in employment in the UK reached a record high between June and August 2013. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 29.87 million people were in full-time and part-time work during this period. This is an increase of 155,000 when compared with the previous quarter. The rise in the number of people in work brought the jobless total down to 2.49 million, a decrease of 18,000.
More women than men seem to be finding work, with the rate of employment for women up by 79,000 compared to an increase of 69,000 for men. However, the rate of employment among the 16 to 14 age group remains low. Within this age group, the ONS reports that 958,000 young people are out of work, a drop of only 1,000 when compared with March to May 2013. At the same time, the number of vacancies that companies are seeking to fill rose to 541,000, the highest level in five years.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell for the 11th month in a row. It now stands at 1.35 million.
The official UK unemployment rate for June to August 2013 stands at 7.7%, according to the ONS. This is a drop of 0.1% when compared with the previous quarter. The drop in the rate of unemployment is significant, not just for those who have secured employment but for the economy as a whole. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, announced in August 2013 that interest rates will not rise until the UK unemployment figure reaches 7%. At the time, he predicted that the creation of the 750,000 jobs needed to reach this figure would take approximately 3 years. If the increase in employment achieved during June to August 2013 can be sustained, interest rates may rise earlier than originally predicted.
However, unemployment is not the only indicator that will be looked at by the Bank of England when reviewing interest rates. It also requires the UK financial picture to remain stable and inflation to remain under control. The Bank of England has stated that it will not increase interest rates unless the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is likely to remain under 2.5% for an 18 to 24-month period.
Hidden within the increase in employment is a phenomenon known as under-employment. Almost 1.5 million people who are working part-time are only doing so because they are unable to find a full-time job. This is the highest rate of under-employment since this measure was first reported in 1992. The number of men in part-time employment has risen by 21,000 while 13,000 fewer women are employed part-time.
On the positive side, the number of people who are recorded as economically inactive, such as students, housewives and the long-term sick, dropped by 83,000 to 8.95 million.
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Steven Pearson has extensive experience as a human resources manager. He enjoys sharing his job finding knowledge through blogging.