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UK unemployment rises by 70,000

Comparing December 2012 - February 2013, with the previous three months, there was a rise in the number of unemployed people, a fall in the number of people “not in the labour force”, or economically inactive, and little change in the number of people in work

Comparing December 2012 - February 2013, with the previous three months, there was a rise in the number of unemployed people, a fall in the number of people “not in the labour force”, or economically inactive, and little change in the number of people in work.

The number of people in work remained relatively unchanged with a small fall of 2,000 for December -February 2013 compared to the previous three months and 29.70 million people were in work. The employment rate stood at 71.4% of all people aged 16 to 64.

The number of unemployed people rose by 70,000 between September - November 2012 and December -February 2013 and overall there were 2.56 million people who were looking and available to work but unable to find a job. However there were 71,000 fewer unemployed people compared with a year earlier. The percentage of the labour force aged 16 and over who were unemployed stood at 7.9%. Putting the unemployment rate into historical context, it is 4 percentage points below the peak of 11.9% seen in the mid 1980s.

A fall in the number of women looking after the family or home

A key factor in the increase in unemployment is that the number of people actively engaging with the labour market is increasing. Between September - November 2012 and December - February 2013 the number of people aged 16 to 64 who were “not in the labour force” fell by 57,000 to 8.95 million. A large part of this decrease was for women who remain out of the labour market to look after the family or home, which was down 45,000 between the two periods. The number of women who look after the family or home now stands at 2.06 million, the lowest estimate on record.

A small fall in the number of claimants

Even though there has been an estimated 70,000 rise in the number of unemployed people between September – November 2012 and December – February 2013, there has been a small fall of 7,000 in the number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance between February and March 2013. The claimant count measures the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and differs from unemployment as some unemployed people do not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, for example, a full-time student who is looking for work may be unemployed but would not usually be eligible for the allowance.

Welcome to the latest on the UK Labour Market.

Focusing firstly on unemployment, between December 2012 and February 2013 there were 2.56 million people aged 16 or over who were out of work but seeking and available to work, a rise of 70,000 compared with the previous three months. Looking at the unemployment rate, 7.9% of the labour force aged 16 and over could not find a job.

If we now look at this chart that shows the unemployment rate from 1971 onwards, to put the 7.9% into a historical context we can see the highest rate was 11.9% following the 1980s recession and the lowest rate was 3.4% in the 1970s.

Turning our attention to employment, there were 29.7 million people aged 16 and over in work, a marginal fall of 2,000 on the previous three months and 71.4% of people aged 16 to 64 were employed.

Looking at those not in the labour force, known as the economically inactive, 8.95 million people aged between 16 and 64 were either not looking for work or not available to work, a fall of 57,000. The four most common reasons for being out of the labour force are: looking after the family or home, studying, being sick or disabled or having taken early retirement.

A fall in the number “not in the labour force” means that more people are engaging with the labour market. Some may find jobs while others may start looking for work and therefore become classed as unemployed. So the fall in the number of economically inactive people is partly driving the increase in unemployment.

A major cause behind the fall in the number of economically inactive people is a fall of 45,000 in the number of women who state they are looking after the family or home. The number of women reporting this situation is now at a record low of 2.06 million.

In March 2013, 1.53 million people aged 18 and over were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a benefit related to looking for work, a fall of 7,000 on February 2013. Of those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, two thirds were men.

Now if we go back to employment, and look in a little more detail, this month at earnings, we can see that in February 2013 the average level of weekly wages excluding bonuses was £443 and these wages grew by just 1.0% when comparing the most recent figures with a year earlier.

Using this chart, we can compare the historical growth in wages (the dark green line) with inflation (the light green line). We can see that since the end of 2009 even though wages have been rising, prices have been rising at a faster rate. This chart also shows us that the annual growth in weekly earnings excluding bonuses is at its lowest level since 2001, when records began.

Looking at earnings across the three main industries of employment, the average weekly wage excluding bonuses in the manufacturing sector was £528 which is higher than the £523 per week in construction and £427 per week in services. While workers in services and manufacturing were both experiencing positive annual growth in weekly wages, workers in the construction industry were experiencing falling wages. 

That was the latest on the UK labour market.

 

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Categories: Labour Market, People in Work, People not in Work, Employment, Employment Type, Job Statistics, Workforce Jobs, Jobs, Vacancies, Vacancies by Industry, Vacancies by Size of Enterprise, Earnings, Weekly Earnings, Bonus Earnings, Basic Pay, Hours of Work, Average Hours, Total Hours, Usual Hours, Weekly Hours, Labour Disputes, Days Lost Due to Industrial Action, Productivity, Claimant Count, Economic Inactivity, Redundancies, Unemployment, Claimant Count Flows, Claimant Count Rates, Claimant Count by Age, Claimant Count by Duration of Claim, Claimant Count by Sex, Jobseeker's Allowance, Economic Inactivity by Age, Economic Inactivity by Reason, Economic Inactivity by Sex, Redundancies by Industry, Redundancies by Rate and Level, Long Term Unemployment, Unemployment Rates, Unemployment by Age, Unemployment by Duration, Unemployment by Sex
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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