U.K. Unemployment Fell to 2 1/2-Year Low in September


Unemployment in Britain fell to a 2 1/2-year low in September as accelerating economic growth led companies to add workers, reducing the case for an immediate cut in interest rates.

The trends in the employment and unemployment rates are falling. There has been a further fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance benefit. The rising trend in the inactivity rate appears to be levelling off. The number of job vacancies has increased. Growth in average earnings, both excluding and including bonuses, has increased.

The employment rate for people of working age was 74.4 per cent for the three months ending in August 2007, down 0.1 from the previous quarter and down 0.3 over the year.

The number of people in employment for the three months ending in August 2007 was 29.10 million, up 22,000 over the quarter and up 82,000 over the year. Total hours worked per week were 935.5 million, up 5.3 million over the quarter and up 5.6 million over the year. These figures for employment and hours worked are the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

The unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent, unchanged over the previous quarter but down 0.2 over the year. The number of unemployed people fell by 5,000 over the quarter and by 47,000 over the year, to reach 1.65 million.

The claimant count was 835,800 in September 2007, down 12,800 over the previous month and down 120,900 over the year. The claimant count has now fallen for twelve consecutive months.

The inactivity rate for people of working age was 21.3 per cent for the three months ending in August 2007, up 0.1 on the quarter and up 0.4 over the year. The number of economically inactive people of working age increased by 41,000 over the quarter and by 190,000 over the year to reach 7.97 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1971. These quarterly and annual increases in activity are largely due to more inactive students.

The annual rate of growth in average earnings (the AEI) excluding bonuses was 3.7 per cent in August 2007, up 0.1 from the previous month. Including bonuses it was also 3.7 per cent, up 0.2 from the previous month.

There were 668,800 job vacancies for the three months to September 2007. This is the highest figure since comparable records began in 2001 and is up 21,300 over the previous quarter and up 71,100 over the year.

The redundancy rate for the three months to August 2007 was 4.8 per 1,000 employees. This is equal to the lowest figure since comparable records began in 1995 and is down 0.1 over the quarter and down 0.6 over the year.


National Statistical Office
10/17/2007 6:16:41 AM