The UK unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent in the three months to May 2019, its lowest level since the October to December 1974 period and in line with market expectations. Unemployment dropped by 51,000 to 1.29 million and employment increased by 28,000 to a new all-time high of 32.75 million. Meanwhile, total pay growth picked up to 3.4 percent from the previous period's 3.2 percent.
Estimated unemployment rates for both men and women aged 16 years and over have been generally falling since late 2013. For March to May 2019, the estimated unemployment rate: for everyone was 3.8 percent; it has not been lower since October to December 1974; for men was 4.0 percent, slightly lower than a year earlier (4.2 percent); for women was 3.6 percent, the lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
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For March to May 2019, an estimated 1.29 million people were unemployed, 116,000 fewer than a year earlier and 820,000 fewer than five years earlier. Looking in more detail at this fall of 820,000 unemployed people over the last five years: people unemployed for up to six months fell by 246,000 to 766,000; people out of work for between 6 and 12 months fell by 160,000 to 187,000; the largest fall was for people unemployed for over one year (down 414,000 to 340,000).
Estimated employment rates for men and women aged from 16 to 64 years have been generally increasing since early 2012. For March to May 2019, the estimated employment rate: for everyone was 76.0 percent, higher than a year earlier (75.6 percent); on the quarter, the rate was 0.1 percentage points lower, the first quarterly decrease since June to August 2018; for men was 80.2 percent; slightly higher than a year earlier (80.1 percent); for women was 72.0 percent, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. The increase in the employment rate for women in recent years is partly because of changes to the State Pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65 years.
Estimates for March to May 2019 show 32.75 million people aged 16 years and over in employment, 354,000 more than for a year earlier. This annual increase of 354,000 was mainly as a result of more people working full time (up 247,000 on the year to reach 24.09 million). Part-time working also showed an increase of 107,000 on the year to reach 8.66 million.
Since comparable records began in 1971, the economic inactivity rate for all people aged from 16 to 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 from 16 to 64 years, for March to May 2019, the estimated economic inactivity rate: for all people was 20.9 percent; for men was 16.4 percent; for women was 25.3 percent.
Estimates for March to May 2019 showed 8.62 million people aged from 16 to 64 years not in the labour force (economically inactive). This was 43,000 fewer than a year earlier, and 307,000 fewer than five years earlier.
UK workers' total earnings, including bonuses, advanced by an annual 3.4 percent to GBP 536 per week in the three months to May, following an upwardly revised 3.2 percent gain in the previous period and above market consensus of a 3.1 percent rise. Excluding bonuses, earnings were up 3.6 percent to GBP 503 per week, the strongest gain in wages since the three months to July 2008, after a 3.4 percent increase in the prior period and beating market forecasts of 3.5 percent. In real terms, earnings including bonuses went up 1.7 percent, and those excluding bonuses advanced 1.4 percent.