The number of people in work increased in the UK and the number of unemployed people fell in the June to August period

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According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, the unemployment rate was 4.3% in the last three months, down from 5% a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975. The proportion of people aged 16 – 64 who are in work has risen from 74.5% in 2016 to 75.1%. the data reveals there are 32.10 million people in work which is 317,000 more than in 2016.

David Clift, HR Director, totaljobs comments “Today’s news represents a real triumph for the job market, which remains robust despite continued political uncertainty. It’s impressive that unemployment has now fallen month-on-month for sixteen consecutive months; a clear signal of employer confidence. Data from totaljobs has found that a number of industries are continuing to perform strongly, with the transport and logistics sector seeing a 6% month on month increase in job postings.”

“Employers can take confidence from today’s figures. Until Brexit brings about any material changes, any pre-emptive hiring freezes on account of Britain’s exit from the EU are being made with a certain amount of guesswork. For this reason, employers may well want to remain optimistic and continue as they are doing.”

The number of people aged between 16 -64 who are economically inactive also decreased to 17,000 fewer than for March to May 2017 and 13,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The figures may be encouraging, however, the UK wage squeeze continues as the study found that the average weekly earnings for employees, adjusted for price inflation, fell by 0.3% including bonuses, and fell by 0.4% excluding bonuses compare with 2016. This means the majority of the UK workforce will continue to feel the stagnation over the Christmas period.

Ian Brinkley, Acting Chief Economist at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development adds: “The latest figures again show the subdued pay outlook across the economy, with a 2.2% increase continuing to lag behind inflation. With no end in sight to this squeeze on living standards, many workers will be facing a Christmas period where they will once again be required to tighten their belts. There is little to suggest that wages are responding to low unemployment and higher inflation.”

“While the headline employment figure remains strong, there are some signs that the UK labour market may be slowing down in terms of job creation. The rise in employment is mostly down to part-time self-employment, which suggests much of the increase is around marginal work and an increase in temporary jobs. We will have to wait and see if this initial sign becomes a trend, but if it does the UK economy faces a potentially potent mix of falling pay and a stagnant labour market.”