Encouraging signs as wages outstrip inflation

Posted on 17/04/2014 by

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Brighter outlook for job seekers as unemployment falls again

There have been more indications that economic recovery is gathering pace with the publication of the latest figures by the Office  of National Statistics yesterday.

Unemployment has dropped below 7% for the first time since the recession and employment has seen the biggest annual jump in a generation, the latest figures show.

Unemployment fell by 77,000 in the last 3 months, taking the unemployment rate to 6.9% for the first time since 2009.

In the largest annual rise in nearly 25 years, the number of people of people in a job rose by 691,000 – more than double the population of Newcastle – bringing the record number of people in work to 30.39 million.

Wages also rose on the year by 1.7%, against yesterday’s announcement that March’s inflation had dropped to 1.6%, and job vacancies rose again, up 108,000 over the past year bringing the number of vacancies in the UK economy to 611,000.

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.”

In Scotland, employment levels are at their highest since records began with 2,575,000 people over 16 now employed. The employment level is now 13,000 above its pre-recession peak of 2,562,000 in 2008.

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National Statistics also published yesterday by the Scottish Government showed Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.2 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2013 and increased by 1.6 per cent during 2013, the fastest annual growth since 2007.

The highest employment level record has been met by an increase in employment of 68,000 over the year, driven by an increase of 46,000 in the female employment level. The female rate of employment in Scotland is now 1.8 percentage points above the UK.

Scotland has again outperformed the UK across all headline labour market indicators, with a lower unemployment rate, higher employment rate and lower economic inactivity rate: details not missed by First Minister Alex Salmond.

Although the Scottish unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter, over the year it fell by 0.8 percentage points and now stands at 6.5 per cent compared to 6.9 per cent in the UK as a whole.

For the 17th consecutive month the claimant count decreased in Scotland with the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance falling by 2,400 over the month to March.

Welcoming the latest labour market figures, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Today’s historic jobs figures show the Scottish Government’s policy of investing in infrastructure to boost the economy is making significant progress with employment levels at a record high. To put it in perspective, there are 285,000 more people in employment today than there were when the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.

“Scotland is outperforming the UK across employment, unemployment and inactivity rates which goes to show even with the limited powers over the economy at our disposal we are improving our country’s economic health.

“Everyone aged between 16 and 19 is guaranteed an offer of a place in training or education through Opportunities for All and just this week we revealed we will create thousands of additional Modern Apprenticeship places, bringing our total target for MA’s to 30,000 every year by 2020 – double the level we inherited in 2007.

“This commitment to equipping our young people with the skills that they need will be further strengthened with the appointment of Angela Constance as Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Female Employment.”

National Statistics

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