Employment rate rises but job market remains flat

Jul 16 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of people in work in the UK has risen to its highest level for 13 years, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics.

But despite a 0.1 per cent fall in unemployment to 5 per cent, its lowest level for two years, the figures indicated the job market is flat overall.

The improvement pushed the employment rate for the three months to May up by 0.1 per cent to 74.7 per cent - its highest level since May 1990.

But while the number of people out of work in the three months to May fell by 20,000 to 1,474,000, the claimant count, which last month saw its biggest rise for a decade, has been rising steadily over the past quarter and was up to 952,000 in June.

The claimant count rate still represents 3.1 per cent of the workforce, its 18th consecutive month at that level.

Despite a growth in the overall number of people in work, many of the new jobs created are part-time and low-paid.

The ONS figures also highlight the continuing decline in beleaguered manufacturing sector. Manufacturing jobs fell by 3.6 per cent to 3.52 million in the three months to May compared with the same period last year.

However those in work enjoyed renewed growth in their average pay with the annual rate of earnings growth in the three months to May rising 3.4 per cent - 0.2 per cent higher than April.