UK unemployment records sharpest annual drop since 1988

There were 2.02 million unemployed people in the UK between May and July 2014, 468,000 fewer than a year earlier – the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988, data obtained from the UK Labour Market September 2014 report released by the ONS can reveal.

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Statistical data points out that there were 30.61 million people in work, 74,000 more than for February to April 2014, the smallest quarterly increase since April to June 2013. Comparing May to July 2014 with a year earlier, there were 774,000 more people in work.

The unemployment rate continued to fall, reaching 6.2% for May to July 2014, the lowest since late 2008.

There were also 8.93 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were out of work and not seeking or available to work (known as economically inactive). This was 114,000 more than for February to April 2014 but 31,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The economic inactivity rate was 22.1%, higher than for February to April 2014 (21.8%) but lower than for a year earlier (22.3%).

Despite the higher employment rates, wages showed modest growth of 0.6% from May to July. This is still well below the inflation rate of 1.5%, announced this week in separate ONS figures.

Mr Mark Beatson, chief economist for the CIPD chief economist Mark Beatson welcomed continued job creation delivering a “big reduction in unemployment”.

“At a time when many other European countries are struggling to create jobs, this is a considerable achievement,” he said. “However, the new figures also show that pay growth remains very subdued and well below all measures of price inflation, so the improvements in productivity and pay that we are all looking for are still not in sight.

“Employers need to take advantage of the currently favourable recruitment climate to invest in upskilling their business and its people.”

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