Jobs numbers and wages rise

Jan 16 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of people in work is rising, the number benefits claimants and unemployed falling and the rate of wage increase is accelerating, according to official government figures.

The number in work rose to a new all-time high of 27.78 million between September and November while the official unemployment level fell 5,000 to 1.52 million. Meanwhile, the number of people claiming benefit dropped by 5,800 in December to a 27-year low of 928,300.

But the monthly figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also show sharp divides between services and manufacturing and the public and private sectors, mirroring other research compiled over the past month.

The number of jobs in manufacturing fell to a new low of 3.58 million in November, with 155,000 redundancies over the last year. In contrast, the past year has seen 225,000 new jobs created in the services sector.

By far the largest rises in employment are in the public sector. The number of public sector workers has risen to more than seven million in the past year, representing nearly one in four of the total UK workforce.

Average earnings also appear to have rallied over the past year. This month’s figure shows a 0.1 per cent increase, pushing the whole economy headline average earnings rate up to 3.8 per cent over the year. Leading the pack is the public sector with a 0.6 per cent rise, bring the rise in earnings over the past year to 4.3 per cent.

Nick Brown, Minister for Work, described the figures as a “steady improvement in the UK labour market”.

”Unemployment is down to levels last seen in the 1970s,” he added. “In some areas of the country there has been significant improvements over the last year.”