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Record number of people in work as earnings remain ‘modestly’ up

Employment increased by 137,000 in the quarter to May to 32.4 million, the highest since records began in 1971, new figures show.

The number of people in work and job vacancies have reached new record levels, while earnings remain “modestly” up on the year, new figures show.

Employment increased by 137,000 in the quarter to May to 32.4 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971, giving a record rate of 75.7%.

Job vacancies increased by 7,000 to 824,000 – the most since records began in 2001.

Unemployment fell by 12,000 to 1.41 million, giving a jobless rate of 4.2%, the joint lowest for more than 30 years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to May, compared with 2.4% the previous month.

Matt Hughes, senior ONS statistician, said: “We’ve had yet another record employment rate, while the number of job vacancies is also a new record.

“From this it’s clear that the labour market is still growing strongly. meanwhile, real earnings remain modestly up on the year, both including and exclusing bonuses.”

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 86,000 to 8.6 million, giving a rate of 21%, a record low.

The claimant count, which includes people on Jobseeker’s Allowance and the unemployment element of Universal Credit increased by 7,800 last month to 898,700, around 97,000 more than a year ago.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey said: “The employment rate is now at a record high at 75.7%.

“With over 3.3m more people in work since 2010, this Government has seen on average 1,000 more people in work each and every day.

“Making sure our jobs market works for everyone is at the heart of this department’s work and the Modern Industrial strategy, and with over 800,000 job vacancies we have a buoyant jobs market with plenty of opportunities available.

“The eight-year trend shows the vast majority of roles are in full time, permanent work that’s higher skilled – which means higher paid too.”

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