The employment rate reached a new record high of in June showing no sign of a post-referendum hit to jobs, reveals new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The latest jobs numbers, which refer to the month of the referendum, showed the number of people in work climbed to its highest on record of 31.75m in the second quarter of the year – an employment rate of 74.5 per cent. The unemployment rate, which calculates the number of people actively looking for work, also held steady at a post-recession low of 4.9 per cent.
Early data for July also showed a surprise fall in the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits. Economists had expected the so-called “claimant count” to rise by 9,000 in July, but it defied expectations to tumble by 8,600, allaying fears that the post-referendum shock had prompted businesses to lay off staff.
Wage growth also remained strong, with average hourly earnings rising by 2.4 percent in the year to June – the fastest rate since last October and far ahead of inflation which was running at 0.5 per cent over the same period.
Vacancies also held up well over the period, in another sign the UK’s jobs boom was on course right up until the vote. The number of open positions dropped by just 0.9 percent in the May to July period.
CIPD’s Acting Chief Economist Ian Brinkley said:
“This is another set of positive figures, with employment growing, unemployment falling and stable wage growth. It is still too early to see a Brexit effect, as the statistics cover the three months to the end of June.
“They do suggest, however, that in the short term the labour market remains resilient. While our recent Labour Market Outlook survey of employer intentions clearly signals tougher times ahead, any downturn in the labour market associated with Brexit is likely to be relatively mild and temporary.
“Employers should, therefore, continue to take a strategic approach to investment in people and new technologies, and invest to address long-term challenges like improving productivity, rather than be blown off course by short-term pressures.”