UK unemployment rate drops to its lowest level in nearly 10 years

16th December 2015


Britain’s rate of unemployment fell to its lowest rate in almost a decade, reaching 5.2% in the three months to October, according to official numbers.

This compares to 6% on the same period last year.

In addition, the data from the Office for National Statistics showed that for August to October, 73.9% of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, the highest employment rate since comparable records began in 1971.

Specifically, employment increased by 207,000 in the three months to October to stand at a new record high of 31.302m.

However annual earnings growth slowed for a third month running in October, dipping to 1.9%, taking the three-month annual earnings growth rate to 2.4% – the lowest since March and down from 3% in September.

Looking ahead Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight expects the number of jobless to trend gradually down over the coming months, taking the unemployment rate down to 4.9% by the end of 2016.

He said: “Relatively solid growth should support demand for labour, with GDP growth forecast at 2.4% in 2016 after a similar increase in 2015.

“However, employment growth will likely be limited by improving labour productivity, increasing recruitment difficulties in some sectors and higher earnings growth. Appreciable uncertainty over the economic outlook, including the referendum on EU membership may also limit employment growth.”

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