UK unemployment remains at 42-year low, as wages stagnate

UK unemployment
The ONS has released its latest unemployment figures.

UK unemployment levels remain at a 42-year low, yet real wages continue to stagnate to pre-financial crisis levels, according to the latest official figures.

Figures from the the Office of National Statistics (ONS), revealed an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in the three months to August 2017, the lowest on record since 1975.

Specifically, there were 94,000 additional people in employment compared with the three months to May 2017, with women making up 78,000 of the total.

Moreover, the female unemployment rate is also at a joint record low of 4.2 percent, with job vacancies also rising by 3,000 to 783,000.

Nevertheless, global figures regarding the gender pay gap reveal that women are still being paid on average 15 percent less than their male counterparts in the world’s most developed economies.

In addition, the ONS figures revealed the UK inactivity rate came in at 21.4 percent, down marginally compared with the three months previously.

At the same time, average weekly earnings in real terms fell by 0.4 percent on the previous year excluding bonuses, and by a slightly smaller 0.3 percent when bonuses were taken into consideration.

In the three months to June 2017, the probability of remaining in employment, for those in work, was 97.3 percent, the highest  since 1997.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds commented on the latest figures: “Our economy is helping to create full-time, permanent jobs which are giving people across the UK the chance of securing a reliable income.

“We’ve boosted the income for people on the lowest pay by increasing the national living wage and delivered the fastest pay rise for the lowest earners in 20 years.”

The latest figures will add to increased speculation that the Bank of England is set to raise interest rates following its Monetary Policy Committee meeting in November.

However, contracting wages continue to add to pressures on the central bank over its impending decision, may make hiking rises increasingly difficult to justify.