Number working in UK up by 40,000

Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 00:00

FRANCESS McDONNELL

The UK labour market provided some respite from gloomy economic data as employment rose to its highest level since records began in 1971.

The number of people in work increased by 40,000 to 29.6 million in the three months to October, the Office for National Statistics said. But that was the slowest rise since January, confirming that the recent jobs boom is slowing.

Unemployment was 2.51 million – down 82,000 on the previous quarter but virtually unchanged on the three months to September. The jobless rate was 7.8 per cent of the workforce, unchanged since last month’s data. That was slightly better than expected by economists, who had forecast a rise to 7.9 per cent.

Private sector job creation continued to outstrip public sector losses. Employment in the public sector fell by 24,000 to 5.75 million in the quarter to September, the lowest level since 2002.

The private sector was up 65,000 at 23.9 million, the highest since records began in 1999. Local government, down 32,000, and the civil service and armed forces, down 3,000 each, were at record lows.

The number of people claiming jobseekers’ allowance fell by 3,000 in November to 1.58 million, after two months of rises.

In Northern Ireland, the number of people out of work also fell but more modestly. In the three months to October the number of unemployed people was estimated to be 68,000 – down by 3,000 over the quarter.

Pay rises across the UK continued to lag behind inflation. Average earnings were up by 1.8 per cent in the three months to October compared with a year earlier. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012