UK Jobless Rate Falls Back to Lowest since Mid-1970s


The UK unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in the three months to July 2019, back to its joint lowest since the October to December 1974 period and slightly below market expectations of 3.9 percent. Unemployment declined by 11,000 to 1.294 million and employment rose by 31,000 to 32.777 million, below forecasts of a 53,000 increase. Meanwhile, total pay growth picked up to 4 percent, the fastest since mid-2008.

Estimated unemployment rates for both men and women aged 16 years and over have been generally falling since late 2013. For May to July 2019: the estimated UK unemployment rate for everyone was 3.8%, the lowest since October to December 1974; the estimated UK unemployment rate for men was 4.0%, relatively unchanged from a year earlier; the estimated UK unemployment rate for women was 3.6%, the joint-lowest since comparable records began in 1971 and 0.4 percentage points lower than a year earlier (4.0%).

For May to July 2019, an estimated 1.29 million people were unemployed, 64,000 fewer than a year earlier and 716,000 fewer than five years earlier. Looking in more detail at this fall of 716,000, unemployed people over the last five years: people unemployed for up to 6 months fell by 182,000 to 786,000 people out of work; for between 6 and 12 months fell by 138,000 to 180,000; the largest fall was for long-term unemployment; these are people unemployed for over one year (down 396,000 to 327,000).

Estimated employment rates for men and women aged between 16 and 64 years have generally been increasing since early 2012. For May to July 2019: the estimated employment rate for everyone was estimated at 76.1%, the joint-highest on record since comparable records began in 1971 and 0.6 percentage points higher on the year; the estimated employment rate for men was 80.2%, up 0.1 percentage points on the year but down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter; the estimated employment rate for women was 72.1%, the joint-highest since comparable records began in 1971 and 1.1 percentage points higher on the year. The increase in the employment rate for women in recent years is partly a result of changes to the State Pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65 years.

Estimates for May to July 2019 show 32.78 million people aged 16 years and over in employment, 369,000 more than for a year earlier. This annual increase has mainly been driven by more women in employment (up 284,000 on the year to reach 15.52 million). Male employment also showed an increase of 86,000 on the year to reach 17.26 million; this increase was driven by those who were self-employed. Looking at the estimates for May to July 2019 by type of employment: there were 27.67 million paid employees (84.4% of all people in employment), 235,000 more than a year earlier; there were 4.93 million self-employed people (15.0% of all people in employment), 125,000 more than a year earlier.

Since comparable records began in 1971, the economic inactivity rate for all people aged between 16 and 64 years has been generally falling (although it increased during recessions). This is because of a gradual fall in the economic inactivity rate for women. For people aged between 16 and 64 years, for May to July 2019: the estimated economic inactivity rate for everyone was 20.8%, down 0.5 percentage points on the year; the estimated economic inactivity rate for men was 16.4%, down 0.1 percentage points on the year; the estimated economic inactivity rate for women was 25.2%, down 0.8 percentage points on the year.

Estimates for May to July 2019 showed 8.59 million people aged from 16 to 64 years not in the labour force (economically inactive). This was 171,000 fewer than a year earlier and 487,000 fewer than five years earlier.

Total earnings growth, including bonuses, rose by an annual 4.0 percent in the three months to July, the highest rate since mid-2008. Excluding bonuses, pay growth eased to 3.8 percent, in line with market forecasts.

UK Jobless Rate Falls Back to Lowest since Mid-1970s


ONS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
9/10/2019 8:47:19 AM