UK pay data beats forecasts, employment growth slows

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 13, 2019

Yet, the jobs market has performed much better than the wider economy over recent months, after figures on Monday showed that factory stoppages and cooling levels of stockpiling ahead of Brexit sent economic growth sliding by 0.4% in April.

The overall employment rate remained at an all-time high in the United Kingdom, with the number of working people up by 32,000 in the three months to April.

The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%; it has not been lower since October to December 1974.

The Office for National Statistics said the strong female employment figures followed changes to the state pension age, which have resulted in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65.

However it was a drop on the three months to February 2019.

'Overall, the labour market continues to be strong, ' ONS statistician Matt Hughes said.

Scotland's unemployment rate for women fell over the year to 2.9%, compared with 3.7% for the UK.

It is encouraging to see that the number of people employed in Scotland is at a record high, while unemployment continues to fall.

"Male employment is still higher at around 80%, but this is well below its historical highs of over 90% back in the 1970s". Although, Scotland's employment rate, at 75.9%, remains just below the UK's rate at 76.1%.

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: "The buoyant labour market is still going strong for the United Kingdom economy, even as it weathers widespread political uncertainty".

"However, the employment boom can not last forever, and is certainly showing signs of softening".

But with 357,000 jobs having been created over the past year, overwhelmingly full-time, companies are now having to pay a higher price to attract staff.

Total earnings growth, including bonuses, rose by an annual 3.1% in the three months to April, official data showed, slowing from 3.3% in March but beating the median forecast of 3.0% in a Reuters poll of economists, the Office for National Statistics said.

But it sees Britain's hiring spree as a reflection of how many firms have opted to take on workers rather than commit to longer-term investments. This was driven by faster growth in basic pay in construction and financial services.

In May, Mark Carney told us rates may have to rise more quickly, and further, than the one or so increase per year the markets are expecting.

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