The unemployment rate in the UK edged down to 3.9 percent in the the three months to January 2019, its lowest level since the November 1974-January 1975 period and slightly below market expectations of 4 percent. The number of unemployed fell by 35,000 on the quarter while employment increased by 222,000, the biggest rise since the three months to November 2015. Total pay growth eased to 3.4 percent on the year, remaining close to a near decade-high seen in the three months to December.
There were an estimated 1.34 million unemployed people, 35,000 fewer than for August to October 2018 and 112,000 fewer than for a year earlier. There have not been fewer unemployed people in the UK since October to December 1975.
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There were an estimated 32.71 million people in work, 222,000 more than for August to October 2018 and 473,000 more than for a year earlier. It was the biggest quarterly rise in employment since the three months to November 2015. The employment rate was estimated at 76.1 percent, the joint-highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.
There were an estimated 8.55 million people aged from 16 to 64 years not in the labour force, 194,000 fewer than for a year earlier and the lowest since January to March 1993. Of these, 3.29 million were men (116,000 fewer than for a year earlier) and 5.26 million were women (78,000 fewer than for a year earlier). The economic inactivity rate for all people was estimated at 20.7%, the lowest figure since comparable records began in 1971.
Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 3.4 percent both excluding and including bonuses compared with a year earlier. Average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 1.4 percent excluding bonuses, and by 1.5 percent including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.