EconomyNews

UK unemployment rate hits almost 50-year low

The number of job vacancies in March to May 2022 also rose to a new record of 1,300,000, and the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down

The UK unemployment rate is close to a 50-year low point, having dropped by 0.2% to 3.8% for February to April 2022, and those unemployed for up to six months increased over this three-month period, marking the largest increase since late 2020.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the economic inactivity rate also decreased by 0.1% to 21.3% in the quarter, largely driven by those economically inactive because they were students.

The number of job vacancies in March to May 2022 also rose to a new record of 1,300,000, and the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down.

ONS said that those unemployed for between 6 and 12 months also decreased to a “record low”, and those unemployed for over 12 months also continued to decrease.

Meanwhile, the UK employment rate increased by 0.2% in the quarter to 75.6%, although this is still below pre-Covid levels. All in all, the number of full-time employees increased over the quarter to a “record high”, which was partially offset by a decrease in the number of part-time employees. 

ONS said the most timely estimate of payrolled employees for May 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 90,000 on the revised April 2022, to a record 29.6 million.

Additionally, growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) was 6.8% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.2% in February to April 2022. Growth in total pay was 0.4% but regular pay fell on the year by 2.2%.

Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, said: “Today’s figures continue to show a mixed picture for the labour market. While the number of people in employment is up again in the three months to April, the figure remains below pre-pandemic levels.

“At the same time, unemployment is close to a 50-year low point and there was a record low number of redundancies. Job vacancies are still slowly rising, too. At a new record level of 1.3 million, this is over half a million more than before the onset of the pandemic.”

She added: “The high level of bonuses continues to cushion the effects of rising prices on total earnings for some workers, but if you exclude bonuses, pay in real terms is falling at its fastest rate in over a decade.”

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