Unemployment down to 6.9% while wage growth overtakes inflation for first time since 2008
The number of people out of work has reached 2.24 million between December 2013 and February 2014, down 320,000 compared to the previous year, thus giving a new unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.
Quarterly government figures also showed that joblessness had dropped by 77,000 for the three months to February 2014 compared to the quarter before (September to November 2013).
Employment has grown by 691,000 year on year and 239,000 in the three months to February 2014 totalling 30.39 million people in work.
Average pay is also going up, rising by 1.7% over one year, compared to the inflation rate of 1.6%. Pay including bonuses was 1.7 per cent higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 1.4 per cent higher. This puts wage increases above the rate of inflation, which was 1.6 per cent in March.
Minister for employment Esther McVey said: “More young people are in work, more women are in work, wages are going up, and more and more businesses are hiring – and it’s a credit to them that Britain is working again.
“But there is still more to do – which is why I’d go even further and call on more employers to work with us to tap into the talent pool the UK offers.”
Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, also commented on the announcement, saying that the figures show the success of the flexible job market. “Firms are hiring at a faster pace, the number of people out of work is at a five-year low and the majority of new jobs are full-time,” he said.
“We’ve always said that as growth picks up more people will feel the benefits. Businesses are creating jobs across all sectors and real wages in the private sector are rising.”