UK unemployment falls again

Aug 13 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of people in employment in the UK has reached its highest level in 13 years and unemployment has fallen to within 0.1 percentage points of its record low. But according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, thousands of jobs continue to be lost in the manufacturing sector.

The employment level increased by 63,000 in the three months to June to reach 27.9 million, the highest since records began in 1984.

Unemployment fell by 42,000 over the same period to 1,458,000, the lowest for two years. The unemployment rate for women has fallen to a record low of 4.3 per cent, while for men it stands at 5.5 per cent per cent. The average rate of 5.0 per cent is only 0.1. per cent higher than the record low recorded in March-May 2001.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits also fell by 8,800 last month to 939,200, the largest monthly fall for over a year.

But jobs continued to be lost in manufacturing. The sector lost 129,000 jobs in the three months to June and manufacturing employment fell to an all-time low of 3.51 million.

The growth in average earnings remained slow, growing by 3.1 per cent in the year to June, down 0.4 points from the May rate.

Wage growth in the public sector was 5.1 per cent, up by 0.2 per cent from the previous month, while in private firms it was 2.6 per cent, a fall of 0.5 per cent.

The figures also show that the number of days lost through industrial disputes in June was 33,000, the highest total since January.