In figures: the current state of the UK job market
In conversations about the state of the UK employment market, Britons have been expressing grave concern of late. Fuelled by uncertainty in the wake of Brexit, predictions around jobs availability was fairly gloomy and young graduates were being urged to seek work abroad. But labour figures released in September 2016, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), paint a far more promising picture.
What the numbers say
Despite panic about the unemployment rate spiking in the weeks following the June Brexit referendum, this did not happen. Between May and July, unemployment actually dropped from the 5% rate it was at during the February – April period, to a slightly improved 4.9%. This is down from the 5.5% level of last year, and is the best the country has seen since the July – September quarter in 2005.
To put the following statistics into context, the ONS data is collated from all those over the age of 16; and people are classified as employed, unemployed or economically inactive (the employment category is taken to include part-time work).
Unemployment specifically refers to the number of people without work who are actively seeking and able to undertake employment, while the economically inactive label is applied to those who are not looking for work or unable to undertake it.
Let’s take a look:
- In the last quarter, the unemployment rate went down across all age groups, including the 16-24 bracket, which usually sees the highest rate. In May-July, it was 13.6%, significantly lower than the 15.4% figure of a year earlier.
- Flipping things to look at employment numbers, there has been a very exciting development. The employment rate, which, as of the end of the May – July quarter stands at 74.5%, is the highest it has been since 1971 – that’s as far back as we can go with comparable records. This percentage has been stable around Brexit; in April it had inched up from 74.4% of the previous period to 74.5% – and there it has remained.
- Putting these percentages into numbers, we currently have 31.77 million people in work (total, including full and part-time employees). This is 174 000 more than for the February – April period. Of these employees, 23.25 million are in full-time jobs, which is an increase of 434 000 from the previous year – that’s no small leap. On the part-time front, there are 8.51 million workers, which shows an increase of 126 000 from last year.
- To make things even better, wages are also on the up. The average weekly earnings increased by 2.3%, including bonuses, over the May- July period, from the previous year.
Now is a good a time as any to kick-start your career
So what does this mean for job seekers in the UK? It’s a good time to be looking for work, as there are plenty of good jobs with decent earning potential available. While the long-term consequences of Brexit remain to be seen, the current climate is one of growth and opportunity. To explore the positions in your area, sign up for a free job seeker account with InteriMarket today.