The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest report on the state of the UK labour market and the news for July seems to be largely positive for UK workers.
One of the most significant findings was that the employment rate for the nation has risen from 75.6% to 76.0% year on year. Although this growth could be considered slow, analysts were quick to highlight that given the looming prospect of Brexit, growth of any kind is positive.
Similarly, the rate of unemployment in the country is at its lowest since October to December of 1974, at an average of just 3.8%, whilst the UK’s economic inactivity rate was also estimated at 20.9% – lower than a year earlier at 21.0%.
The ONS report also found that UK employees are earning more. Estimated annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees increased to 3.4% for total pay, including bonuses, and 3.6% for regular pay – excluding bonuses. In real terms, this means that after adjusting for inflation, total pay is estimated to have increased by 1.4% compared with a year earlier, whilst regular pay has seen a rise of 1.7% in the same period.
Continuing the positive news, it seems that the jobs market has also seen a rise in the employment rate for women to the highest on record at 72.0%. This number has in fact been on a consistently upward trajectory since the beginning of 2012 and is very much in line with the overall employment growth also experienced by men.
Estimates which ranged from March to May of 2019 found that 32.75million people over the age of 16 are in employment. This is the equivalent to 354,000 more than the same period one year earlier and was mainly the result of more people working full-time – up 247,000 year on year to reach 24.09million. Part-time workers also saw a significant increase of 107,000 year-on-year to a total of 8.66million.
However, the news isn’t all positive; the report also discovered that the UK employment rate, despite seeing an increase year-on-year, has in fact faltered for the first time since the period of June to August of 2018 with a drop of 0.1%. Whilst this may not seem noteworthy, some analysts have warned that it may be emblematic of a further drop to come.
"While it's not unusual to see a quarterly drop in vacancies at this time of year, particularly given that January and February are some of the busiest months in the hiring calendar, the annual dip does suggest that companies are holding back in their hiring efforts,” commented Lee Biggins, Founder of CV-Library.
“Indeed, our own data reveals that job numbers fell by 4.5% in April, following the UK's failure to leave the EU on time back in March. At the same time, businesses are pushing up their pay packets in an attempt to entice more workers out of their current roles. In fact, we found that average salaries jumped up by 4.1% during this time and these efforts appear to be paying off, with application rates also rising by 8.6%. More people are in work than ever before and this is a positive milestone to shout about – particularly when it comes to female employment,” he added.