For some time, unemployment has been one of the hot-button economic issues in the UK. At the height of the downturn, which still lingers long in the memory of many people, unemployment soared past 2.5 million people. However, as the latest set of stats for the labour market reveals, the number of people out of work is steadily climbing downwards.
In the three months between December 2013 and February 2014, unemployment in the UK dropped by 77,000, reaching its lowest level for just over five years. Compared to the same period a year ago, 320,000 fewer people were classed as unemployed. In terms of job creation, the April labour market statistics make for even better reading.
Full steam ahead?
For jobseekers, employees and employees alike, it seems that the broader picture hints at everything becoming much, much rosier. As Joshua Raymond, Chief Market Strategist at cityindex.co.uk explains, all the stats seem to go in favour of jobseekers as well as those currently in work. He said:
“The UK unemployment rate fell more than expected to 6.9%, its lowest level since February 2009. At the same time, UK earnings grew with three month average earnings hitting 1.7% and rising above inflation (1.6%) for the first time in four years. All in all, this is another pleasing example of improvement in the UK labour market.
“The fact we now have three-month average earnings rising faster than inflation is an important milestone in the UK recovery. Pressure on consumer spending has been one of the weakest parts of the UK economy in recent years and the ability of the consumer to now earn more than prices are rising gives them greater power and potentially adds another string to the UK recovery”, he added.
Wages catching up
Pay including bonuses rose over the three-month period by 1.7%, compared to just 1.4% a month ago. While unemployment has been falling for some time, the one area where there was room for improvement was wages, which had failed to keep pace with inflation. Fortunately, with inflation falling and wage growth on the up, the employment picture as a whole is improving.