Unemployment hits record low but wages growth disappoints

Unemployment is at a record low
Unemployment is at a record low

Unemployment has reached a 40-year low, new figures show.

The August report from the Office of National Statistics shows that Unemployment fell by 65,000 in the latest quarter to 1.36 million, the lowest figure since 1976, giving a jobless rate of four per cent.

In the North West there were 148,000 people unemployed down 6,000 on the previous quarter giving a rate of 4.1 per cent. Locally the number of people claiming unemployment or working age benefits was down slightly.

In Blackpool North there were 1,560 claiming benefits such as Universal Credit down 0.2 per cent on the same month last year, in Blackpool South there were 2,195, the same as last month, in Wyre and Preston North there were 380, down 0.1 per cent, Lancaster and Fleetwood was 1,210 up 0.1 per cent, Fylde had 650 claimants, down 0.1 per cent.

The number of people in work continued to increase – up by 42,000 to 32.39 million while the claimant count nationally rose 6,200 last month to 906,100, almost 108,000 more than a year ago.

However, average earnings increased by 2.4 per cent in the year to June, down from 2.5 per cent the previous month and equal to the current the rate of inflation.

The number of workers on zero-hours contracts fell by 104,000 over the past year to 780,000.

Unions also highlighted the fall in the number of workers on zero-hours contracts.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Bosses are finally getting the message that zero-hours contracts are legalised exploitation.

"Ministers should ban zero-hours contracts once and for all. Britain's long-awaited wages recovery has yet to materialise. Pay growth is anaemic at best.

"The government is asleep at the wheel as family budgets are squeezed."

Tej Parikh of the Institute of Directors, said: "The labour market remains in rude health, but despite the increasingly heated competition to fill vacancies, wage growth continues to be a challenge."

Stephen Clarke of the Resolution Foundation, said: "While there is little evidence of any let-up in the UK economy's ability to create jobs, this is not yet translating into faster pay growth."

The ONS figures also show there has been a record fall in the number of EU nationals working in the UK, new figures show.

There were 2.28 million EU nationals working in this country in the quarter to June, 86,000 fewer than a year earlier, the largest annual decrease since records began in 1997.

Matthew Percival of the CBI said: "Continuing job creation shows that flexibility in the labour market is a key strength of the UK economy. However, these figures show that the size of the UK workforce is shrinking at the same time as vacancies for skills and labour grow."