The UK unemployment rate edged up to 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2019 from a 44-year low of 3.8 percent in the previous period, while markets had forecast the rate to remain unchanged. Unemployment rose by 31,000 to 1.329 million and employment jumped by 115,000 to a new all-time high of 32.811 million, comfortably above forecasts of a 65,000 increase. Meanwhile, total pay growth picked up to 3.7 percent, the fastest since June 2008.
Estimated unemployment rates for both men and women aged 16 years and over have been generally falling since late 2013. For April to June 2019, the estimated unemployment rate: for everyone was 3.9 percent, lower than a year earlier (4.0 percent), on the quarter the rate was 0.1 percentage points higher; for men was 4.1 percent, slightly higher than a year earlier (4.0 percent); for women was 3.6 percent, the joint-lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
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For April to June 2019, an estimated 1.33 million people were unemployed, 33,000 fewer than a year earlier and 732,000 fewer than five years earlier. Looking in more detail at this fall of 732,000 unemployed people over the last five years: people unemployed for up to 6 months fell by 197,000 to 793,000; people out of work for between 6 and 12 months fell by 137,000 to 194,000; the largest fall was for people unemployed for over one year (down 398,000 to 342,000).
Estimated employment rates for men and women aged from 16 to 64 years have been generally increasing since early 2012. For April to June 2019, the estimated employment rate: for everyone was estimated at 76.1 percent, the joint-highest on record since comparable records began in 1971; for men was 80.1 percent; unchanged from a year earlier but down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter, the third consecutive quarterly decrease; for women was 72.1 percent, the highest since comparable records began in 1971. The increase in the employment rate for women in recent years is partly because of changes to the State Pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65 years.
Estimates for April to June 2019 show 32.81 million people aged 16 years and over in employment, this is a record high and 425,000 more than for a year earlier. This annual increase of 425,000 was mainly because of more people working full-time (up 262,000 on the year to reach 24.11 million). Part-time working also showed an increase of 162,000 on the year to reach 8.70 million.
Since comparable records began in 1971, the economic inactivity rate for all people aged from 16 to 64 years has been generally falling (although it increased during recessions). This is because of a gradual fall in the economic inactivity rate for women. For people aged from 16 to 64 years, for April to June 2019, the estimated economic inactivity rate: for all people was 20.7 percent, a joint-record low; for men was 16.3 percent; for women was 25.1 percent, a record low.
Estimates for April to June 2019 showed 8.56 million people aged from 16 to 64 years not in the labour force (economically inactive). This was: 176,000 fewer than a year earlier; 445,000 fewer than five years earlier.
Total earnings growth, including bonuses, rose by an annual 3.7 percent in the second quarter, the highest rate since June 2008. Excluding bonuses, pay growth picked up to 3.9 percent, beating market forecasts of 3.8 percent. Annual growth in both total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses) has accelerated in recent months. Two contributing factors were introduced in April that have a potential impact in this reporting period, these are: pay increases for some NHS staff, which will impact public sector pay growth; the introduction of the new National Living Wage rate (4.9 percentage points higher than the 2018 rate) and National Minimum Wage rates, which will impact the lowest-paid workers in sectors such as wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants.