United Kingdom Unemployment Rate Up to 7.9% in February


The number of unemployed people rose by 70,000 between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013 and there were 2.56 million unemployed people. However there were 71,000 fewer unemployed people compared with a year earlier. The unemployment rate was 7.9% of the economically active population for December 2012 to February 2013. Unemployment is four percentage points lower than the peak of 11.9% seen in the mid-1980s.

For December 2012 to February 2013, compared with September to November 2012, there was a rise in the number of unemployed people, there was a fall in the number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 and there was little change in the number of employed people. The number of people in employment was little changed (down 2,000) between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013. There were 29.70 million people aged 16 and over in employment and the employment rate for people aged from 16 to 64 was 71.4 percent for December 2012 to February 2013.

A key factor in the increase in unemployment is that the number of people actively engaging with the labour market is increasing. Between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013, the number of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not in the labour force (known as economically inactive) fell by 57,000 to reach 8.95 million. A large part of this decrease was for women who were economically inactive because they were looking after the family or home. The number of women in this category fell by 45,000 between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013 to reach 2.06 million, the lowest figure since comparable records began in 1993.
 
There has been a small fall of 7,000 in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) between February and March 2013. The number of people claiming JSA (1.53 million) is around a million lower than the number of unemployed people; many unemployed people are not eligible for or do not claim JSA.
 
Average weekly earnings excluding bonus payments rose by 1.0% comparing December 2012 to February 2013 with the same period a year earlier. This was the lowest growth rate since comparable records began in 2001. In February 2013 lower earnings growth was recorded across most sectors of the economy. In cash terms, average weekly earnings excluding bonus payments were £443 in February 2013, before taxes and other deductions from gross pay, up from £440 a year earlier. There continues to be a cut in the real value of pay, as inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index was 2.8 percent between February 2012 and February 2013. The annual growth in weekly wages excluding bonuses has been continuously below price inflation since late 2009.

ONS | Nuno Fontes | nuno@tradingeconomics.com
4/17/2013 9:38:45 AM