Saturday, July 17, 2010

UK Unemployment Figures At Lowest Level For A Year

Forex Special

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that UK unemployment eased last over the three month period to May by 34000. The total number of British people looking for work and claiming the relevant allowance has fallen to 2.47 million which corresponds to 7.8% of the workforce. The UK has a convoluted way of computing the data, but it shows that during the quarter to May, the nmber of people in work rose by 160000. This increase, which is the biggest seen since August 2006, involved the creation of just 12000 full-time jobs with the bulk of the improvement (148000) coming in the shape of part-time employment. This represented record growth within part-time jobs and is certainly good news. It does, however, tend to underline the fragility of the recovery in the UK, but at least economic activity is such that more workers are required.
ONS now calculates that 27% of the UK workforce is engaged in part-time employment. This is the highest proportion since records began in 1992. Only people who are actively seeking work in the UK are recognised as unemployed and can claim the “job seekers” allowance. As usual, there were regional variations in the employment/unemployment situation with the worst performance in Northern Ireland which saw a 0.6% increase in unemployment, in contrast with the national decrease of 0.1%. It is likely that UK austerity measures will lead to the loss of some public sector jobs as the UK tries to get its debt under control, but at least today’s data does provide a touch of welcome relief – even if it does prove to be short-lived.


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