UK Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 44-Year Low


The UK unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent in the three months to February 2019, its lowest level since the November 1974-January 1975 period and in line with market expectations. Employment continued to increase at a solid pace despite Brexit uncertainty and total pay growth was at the joint highest rate since mid-2008.

For December 2018 to February 2019, an estimated 1.34 million people were unemployed, 76,000 fewer than for a year earlier and 914,000 fewer than for five years earlier. Estimated unemployment rates for both men and women aged 16 years and over have been generally falling since late 2013. For December 2018 to February 2019, the unemployment rate: for men was estimated at 4.1 percent; for women was estimated at 3.8 percent, the joint-lowest since comparable records began in 1971.

There were 32.72 million people aged 16 years and over in employment, 457,000 more than for a year earlier. This annual increase of 457,000 was due entirely to more people working full-time (up 473,000 on the year to reach 24.15 million). Part-time working showed a small fall of 15,000 on the year to reach 8.57 million. The UK employment rate was estimated at 76.1 percent, higher than for a year earlier (75.4 percent) and the joint-highest figure on record. Estimated employment rates for men and women aged between 16 and 64 years have been generally increasing since early 2012. For December 2018 to February 2019, the employment rate: for men was estimated at 80.5 percent; it has not been higher since December 1990 to February 1991; for women was estimated at 71.8 percent, the joint-highest since comparable records began in 1971.

There were 8.54 million people aged from 16 to 64 years not in the labour force (economically inactive). This was: 213,000 fewer than for a year earlier; 456,000 fewer than for five years earlier; the lowest since January to March 1993. The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.7 percent, lower than for a year earlier (21.2 percent) and the joint-lowest figure on record: for men was estimated at 16 percent; it has not been lower since May to July 2003; for women was estimated at 25.3 percent, the joint-lowest figure since comparable records began in 1971.

Average weekly earnings rose by an annual 3.5 percent in the three months to February, the same pace as in the previous period and in line with market expectations. That was the joint highest rate since mid-2008. Excluding bonuses, they rose by 3.4 percent on the year, also in line with market consensus. In real terms, wages grew by 1.6 percent including bonuses and by 1.5 percent excluding bonuses.

UK Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 44-Year Low


ONS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
4/16/2019 8:59:10 AM