Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between July to September 2018 and October to December 2018, the number of people in work increased, while the number of unemployed people and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking nor available to work (economically inactive) both fell.
There were an estimated 32.60m people in work, 167,000 more than for July to September 2018 and 444,000 more than for a year earlier.
The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was estimated at 75.8%, higher than for a year earlier (75.2%) and the joint-highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.
There were an estimated 844,000 people (not seasonally adjusted) in employment on zero-hours contracts in their main job, 57,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
There were an estimated 1.36m unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 14,000 fewer than for July to September 2018 and 100,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was estimated at 4.0%, it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.
There were an estimated 8.63m people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking nor available to work), 94,000 fewer than for July to September 2018 and 153,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive) was estimated at 20.9%, the lowest figure since comparable estimates began in 1971.
Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 3.4% both excluding and including bonuses compared with a year earlier.
Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 1.2% excluding bonuses, and by 1.3% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed, commented, “A year ago the average Briton’s spending power was stagnating as paypackets were caught in the crosshairs of low wage growth and painfully high inflation.
“Now, as inflation slows to its lowest rate in two years, a series of strong rises in average wages has swelled both paypackets and workers’ spending power.
“Rising wages are a byproduct of Britain’s relentlessly tight labour market, which is still bumping along the ceiling of full employment. With the proportion of working age people who have a job remaining at the highest level ever recorded, employers are being forced to crank up wages to prise recruits away from other jobs.
“There are signs the market could get even tighter in coming months. Indeed’s data shows that the proportion of online searches for UK jobs coming from other European countries fell by 5% in the three years to January. By contrast, the number of UK-based jobseekers searching for roles in the EU jumped by 11% during the same period. While the latest quarterly data shows a pick-up in the number of both EU and non-EU workers, the Brexodus of talent remains a real risk.
“With economic growth slowing, wage demands rising and continued uncertainty about future migration policy, these are testing times for Britain’s employers.”