Newly released official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that unemployment in the UK dropped to 1.86million in the three months to January 2015, down a total of 102,000.
Although the unemployment rate is still 5.7%, the number of people in employment is higher than ever before, according to this new data from the ONS.
The number of people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance has also fallen, to 791,200. This is the lowest level recorded for nearly forty years.
Average earnings in the same period (including bonuses) is up 1.8% when compared with the same time last year. In the same vein, earnings (excluding bonuses) went up 1.6%.
This means that earnings continue to exceed CPI (consumer price index) inflation, which dropped to the historic low of 0.3% in January, according to official data. Conversely, unemployment in the younger age brackets remains obstinately high. The ONS reports that the number of unemployed 16 – 24-year-olds fell only fractionally (by 12,000) in the three months to January 2015. The current level is 743,000 – or 16.2%.
Average earnings’ performance is also more sluggish than in January. Average wages (including bonuses) went up 2.1% in the last quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013. Pay (excluding bonuses) went up 1.7% in the same period.
The Office for National Statistics has commented that one explanation for this tailing off in wage rises is the fact that many workers have been paid smaller bonuses than expected during this time.
The new figures also show that there has been a fairly significant rise in the number of registered self-employed people in the UK. The number of people working for themselves currently stands at 4.53 million in total. This is an increase of 33,000 since last year.