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March 2019 ONS labour statistics

Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive Neil Carberry
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Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of vacancies at 854,000 for December 2018 to February 2019, 3,000 more than for September to November 2018 and 39,000 more than a year earlier.

The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.9%; it has not been lower since November 1974 to January 1975. There were an estimated 1.34 million unemployed people, 113,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The UK employment rate was estimated at 76.1%, higher than for a year earlier (75.3%) and the highest figure on record. The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.7%, the lowest on record.

Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive Neil Carberry commenting on ONS labour market figures:

“Today’s figures demonstrate the continued strength of the UK labour market, with recruiters helping firms hire the right staff for them to prosper amidst pressing skills shortages. But they need a Brexit deal that helps maintain and enhance this strong performance, rather than gambling with it.

“Uncertainty is threatening to jeopardise this healthy position, with 4 out of 5 recruiters polled by the REC saying that no-deal would have a negative effect on the jobs market.

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“As business confidence drops, the political establishment needs to find a solution that can help protect people’s jobs and livelihoods.”

Our model predicted the unemployment rate would remain at 4.0% and that there would be a decrease in unemployment of 11,000 in the three months to January.

The unemployment rate actually fell to 3.9% – it has not been lower since November 1974 to January 1975. There were 1.34 million unemployed people, 35,000 fewer than for August to October 2018 and 113,000 fewer than for a year earlier. The employment rate was at 76.1%, higher than for a year earlier (75.3%) and the highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.

The number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) was 8.55 million, 117,000 fewer than for August to October 2018 and 193,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The economic inactivity rate was 20.7%, the lowest figure since comparable estimates began in 1971. There were 854,000 job vacancies for December 2018 to February 2019 – 3,000 more than for September to November 2018 and 39,000 more than a year earlier.

Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 1.4% excluding bonuses, and by 1.5% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

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