UK unemployment actually fell by 9,000 in the three months to September, leaving the total pretty much unchanged at just under 2.45m (that’s 7.7%) according to the Office of National Statistics.
That still means the recovery is proving much slower than after previous recessions. Many of the new jobs were part-time rather than full time. And it looks as though the fallout from public sector cuts hasn’t kicked in just yet.
Overall employment increased by 167,000 to 29.19m. Since the unemployment rate hasn’t fallen by anything like that much, this suggests that the jobless count is, in part, being replenished by those people who have decided to start job-hunting (again). Not good news for a Government keen to push down its welfare bill – though today’s figures showed that the number of people claiming on benefits also fell slightly, by 3,700 to 1.47m – nearly countering last month’s 5,300 rise.
Overall howevr, the outlook remains rather ominous. The number of job vacancies apparently fell by 27,000 in the three months to October. And the figures showed that a large chunk of those new jobs created were part-time rather than full-time. Apparently, part-time workers now make up 27.3% of those employed, which is up by more than 3% since 2008 (when it stood at 25.4%). That suggests businesses are still cautious about forking out for new roles.
Interestingly, wages have actually improved slightly. The report stated that average pay was up by 2% on a year ago – which is, at least, slightly above the 1.7% of the previous quarter. Good news for workers – though given that inflation is running above the 3.2% mark, 2% is still effectively a pay cut.