- Official figures reveal drop in number of people in work and pay rises lagging behind inflation
Evidence that Britain’s long jobs boom has come to an end has emerged after official figures showed the number of people in work fell by 56,000 in the three months ending in October.
After an upswing stretching to 2012, the Office for National Statistics said the employment rate had fallen by 0.2 percentage points to 75.1%.
Unemployment also decreased by 26,000 to 1.43 million, but only because of a rise in economic inactivity, a category that counts people who have ceased to look for work. The jobless rate remained at 4.3%, its lowest since 1975.
The ONS also reported a slight pick-up in earnings growth, but the 2.3% annual increase in the three months to October still meant pay was lagging behind inflation.
ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: “Employment stayed close to its record high and, while up on a year ago, declined compared with the previous three months.
Unemployment also fell, but there was a rise in the number of people who were neither working nor looking for a job. Meanwhile the number of vacancies continues to grow, reaching a new record high.
“There has been a slight pick-up in pay growth in cash terms, which means that although earnings are still growing less than inflation, the gap has narrowed.”
The ONS said there had been a drop of 35,000 over the past year in the number of employees from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004, but an 82,000 increase in the number of workers from Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007.
Stephen Clarke, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s remarkable jobs boom looks like it may have finally reached the end of the road, with employment falling slightly since June of this year.
“This still leaves Britain with one of the highest employment rates in Europe, though still some way behind countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.”
He added: “We have also seen a fall in the total number of hours worked, the silver lining of which is that it suggests productivity growth may finally be strengthening.”
Source The Guardian
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