Employment rates highest since 1971 says ONS

UK employment hit its highest rate since records began back in 1972, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed on Tuesday.

The UK’s jobless rate fell to 3.9 per cent, down from 4 per cent recorded the month before. Those not in employment fell by 35,000 to 1.338 million during the final quarter of the year. Meanwhile, employment levels hit record levels of 76.1 per cent during the three months to January.

Matt Hughes, ONS senior statistician, said,

The employment rate has reached a new record high, while the proportion of people who are neither working nor looking for a job – the so-called ‘economic inactivity rate’- is at a new record low.

Alok Sharma MP, the minister for employment,  commented,

Today’s employment figures are further evidence of the strong economy the Chancellor detailed in last week’s spring statement, showing how our pro-business policies are delivering record employment.

2019 has continued to be a record breaker, with the employment rate topping 76 per cent for the first time, record female employment and unemployment falling below 4per cent for the first time in 44 years.

Our jobs market remains resilient as we see more people than ever before benefitting from earning a wage. By backing the Government’s Brexit deal and giving certainty to business, MPs have the chance to safeguard this jobs track record.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library commented,

In spite of a bleak backdrop amidst Brexit uncertainty, employers appear to be bucking the trend and continuing with their hiring efforts. What’s more, our own data shows that wages are growing significantly, as many organisations seek to pull out all the stops in order to attract the best workers into their companies.

However, this positive progress is at risk of stalling if the government cannot put aside their differences and work together to secure an efficient exit from the EU. Particularly as we know that many employers are already struggling to recruit the staff they need in order to drive productivity and strong economic growth.

Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive commented,

Today’s figures demonstrate the continued strength of the UK labour market, with recruiters helping firms hire the right staff for them to prosper amidst pressing skills shortages. But they need a Brexit deal that helps maintain and enhance this strong performance, rather than gambling with it.

Uncertainty is threatening to jeopardise this healthy position, with 4 out of 5 recruiters polled by the REC saying that no-deal would have a negative effect on the jobs market. As business confidence drops, the political establishment needs to find a solution that can help protect people’s jobs and livelihoods.

The latest ONS employment figures will be a welcome development for the government, particularly as the UK economy continues to suffer amid ongoing Brexit-related uncertainty.