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UK labour market improves with higher employment growth and lower unemployment rate

Independent research consultancy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), published it latest study on Wednesday, which reveals that the UK unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level for five years and growth in employment has increased the most since 1989.

According to Cebr figures, the UK unemployment rate was down to 6.8% in first quarter of 2014, compared to 7.8% in the same period of 2013. The new rate is the lowest reported since the beginning of 2009, an indication that the UK economy is continuing to recover.

Growth in employment year-on-year has increased by 2.4%, or 720,000 workers. Cebr data indicates that 573,000 workers entering full time employment, while 148,000 found part time work. The move toward full-time work is said to have helped to reduce the level of underemployment in the economy, because the proportion of people working part-time because they were unable find a job with longer hours stood at 17.7% in the first quarter of 2014. This figure has dropped from a series high of 18.5% in mid-2013, however is still above the low of 7.4% in 2004.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its Labour Market Statistics, May 2014, which also demonstrate that UK unemployment continues to fall and employment figures are increasing. ONS data shows that there were 30.43 million people in work for January to March 2014, a rise of 283,000 compared to October to December 2013. Increased employment figures are said to be a result of more people becoming self-employed.

ONS Labour Market Statistics also show that there were 8.85 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, who were out of work but not seeking or available to work during January to March 2014. This was 155,000 less than the same period of 2013 and 85,000 less compared to October to December 2013. The ONS added that inactivity rate has not been lower since October to December 1990.

UK earnings are also rising as a result of higher employment intentions. The Cebr said that its research indicates that average total pay grew year on year by 1.7% in the first quarter of 2014, increased from just 0.7% in the same quarter of 2013. This means that wage growth is currently broadly in line with the UK annual consumer price inflation of 1.7% and above the inflation of 1.6% recorded in March 2014. These figures were corroborated by the ONS report.


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