Unchanged unemployment rate an ‘encouraging sign’, says chancellor Jeremy Hunt

The UK’s unemployment charge has remained unchanged regardless of Britain’s economic system flatlining, official figures present.

The Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) revealed the speed of UK unemployment was 3.7 per cent within the three months to December, the identical charge that was recorded within the three months to November.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt launched an announcement, saying: “In powerful instances unemployment remaining near report lows is an encouraging signal of resilience in our labour market.

“The most effective factor we are able to do to make folks’s wages go additional is follow our plan to halve inflation this yr”.


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The determine of three.7 per cent had edged barely larger than the earlier calendar quarter, with the unemployment charge standing at 3.6 per cent within the three months main as much as September. Moreover, the variety of job vacancies fell, and the variety of redundancies rose. This may occasionally now feed by way of to the subsequent quarter’s unemployment information.

The info additionally confirmed that common pay progress was 6.7 per cent within the three months to December, the strongest progress charge seen outdoors the pandemic, the ONS stated. 

Nevertheless, wages continued to be outstripped by rising costs. As soon as client costs index (CPI) inflation is taken under consideration, common pay fell by 3.6% within the three-month interval, in contrast with the earlier yr.

This decline is smaller than the report fall of 4.1% seen over the three months to June, however nonetheless stays among the many largest falls in actual pay since comparable data started in 2001, the ONS stated.

In an indication that the labour market is slowing, the estimated variety of vacancies fell by 76,000, the seventh consecutive fall.

This displays financial pressures and uncertainty nonetheless main companies to carry again on recruitment, the ONS stated.

The ONS’s director of financial statistics, Darren Morgan, stated: “The final quarter of 2022 noticed fewer folks remaining outdoors the labour market altogether, with some shifting straight again right into a job and others beginning to search work once more.

“This meant that though employment rose once more, unemployment edged up additionally.

“Though there may be nonetheless a big hole between earnings progress in the private and non-private sectors, this narrowed barely within the newest interval. General, pay, although, continues to be outstripped by rising costs.

“Although nonetheless at traditionally very excessive ranges, job vacancies have dropped once more, with a very sharp fall from the smallest employers.

“The variety of working days misplaced to strikes rose once more sharply in December. Transport and communications remained essentially the most closely affected space, however this month there was additionally a big contribution from the well being sector”.

Labour’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves stated: “Britain has big potential – however 13 years of the Tories has left actual wages down, households worse off, and our economic system lagging behind on the worldwide stage. The federal government must cease sitting again and following this path of managed decline.

“Labour will get folks again into work, with our actual plan for progress to create good, new jobs throughout each a part of our nation”.

The Liberal Democrats additionally blamed the Conservatives for squeezing pay, and driving “the economic system to the sting of recession”.

The Decision Basis has stated that the brand new labour market information factors to softer demand for and elevated provide of employees — with rising unemployment and falling vacancies contrasting with a welcome rise in participation. 

Nye Cominetti, Senior Economist on the Decision Basis, stated:  “The labour market is sending a tentative sign to coverage makers, with proof of cooling within the jobs market and further labour provide alongside early proof of slowing pay progress.

“The autumn in financial inactivity for the reason that summer time is welcome, although the accompanying rise in Zero Hours Contracts much less so. And the larger image is a stark actual wage squeeze that’s prompting ever extra industrial motion”.