UK employment rate at its highest since records began in 1971

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Britain’s jobs market is booming with wages growing and employment is at its highest level since 1971 – fuelling hopes the squeeze on living standards is abating. 

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people in work has soared by 197,000 in the first three months of the year compared to the three months before.

This means 75.6 per cent of people are in work – up from 74.8 per cent compared to the year before.

While unemployment remains at 4.2 per cent – the lowest level since 1975, according to the numbers.

Meanwhile, regular wages, excluding bonuses, are up 2.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. This is higher than last month where it stood at 2.8 per cent.

Although wages including bonuses have taken a slight dip, growing by 2.6 per cent compared to the year before – down slightly on last month’s 2.8 per cent. 

On both counts wages are rising higher than inflation, which fell to 2.5 per cent in March.

Chancellor Philip Hammond hailed the new figures saying that Britons are starting to feel the benefit of having extra cash in their pockets. 

Britain is still enjoying booming employment numbers - with the employment rate at its highest since records began in 1971

Britain is still enjoying booming employment numbers - with the employment rate at its highest since records began in 1971

Britain is still enjoying booming employment numbers – with the employment rate at its highest since records began in 1971

Regular wages (excluding bonuses) are growing although wages including bonuses have dipped compared to last month's figures. But both are growing higher than inflation

Regular wages (excluding bonuses) are growing although wages including bonuses have dipped compared to last month's figures. But both are growing higher than inflation

Regular wages (excluding bonuses) are growing although wages including bonuses have dipped compared to last month’s figures. But both are growing higher than inflation

He said: ‘Growth in real wages means that people are starting to feel the benefit of more money in their pockets; another turning point as we build a stronger, fairer economy.

Some 80% of men are in work for the first time since 1991 

The proportion of men in work has hit 80 per cent for the first time in 27 years, figures today show.

Office for National Statistics figures show that male employment rates hit the threshold for the first time since April 1991, when it was 80.2 percent.

Meanwhile, a record 71.2 percent of women are now in work, the numbers show.

Today’s numbers show the jobs market is enjoying a massive boom as more people find work. 

‘We can be proud of our record on jobs. 

‘The unemployment rate is at it’s lowest in over 40 years and with our National Living Wage we are making sure that the lowest-paid feel the benefit with an extra £2,000 a year.

‘Now the focus has to be on ensuring that wages keep rising faster than inflation, so that living standards increase.’  

The proportion of men in work has hit 80 per cent for the first time in 27 years, figures today show.

Office for National Statistics figures show that male employment rates hit the threshold for the first time since April 1991, when it was 80.2 percent.

Meanwhile, a record 71.2 percent of women are now in work, the numbers show.

Today’s numbers show the jobs market is enjoying a massive boom as more people find work.  

The findings will fuel hopes that the prolonged squeeze on wages and living standards may finally be ending.

Theresa May (pictured today in central London with members of the UK's Invictus games team) will seize upon the figures as good news for the UK economy 

Theresa May (pictured today in central London with members of the UK's Invictus games team) will seize upon the figures as good news for the UK economy 

Theresa May (pictured today in central London with members of the UK’s Invictus games team) will seize upon the figures as good news for the UK economy 

Senior ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: ‘With employment up again in the three months to March, the rate has hit a new record, with unemployment remaining at its lowest rate since 1975.

What happened in 1971: Ted Heath was PM, Benny Hill was Christmas No1 and MPs debated the EU

Britain was a very different place in 1971. Here are some of the events and characters which defined the year.

Britain went decimal ditching the old shillings, florins and crowns and turning to decimals of ten. 

Ibrox football disaster kills 66 in Glasgow

Open university began

Idi Amin becomes president of Uganda

Rolls Royce nationalised after going bankrupt

George Harrison becomes the first Beatle to get a number one after the band split up 

Ted Heath was PM and under his leadership Britain begins negotiations to join EEC – the precursor of the EU  

Doors singer Jim Morrison is found dead in Paris 

Ian Paisley forms the Democratic Unionist Party

A Clockwork Orange is released

Benny Hill gets the Christmas number one with Ernie, the fastest milkman in the west 

‘The growth in employment is still being driven by UK nationals, with a slight drop over the past year in the number of foreign workers. 

‘It’s important to remember, though, that this isn’t a measure of migration.

‘Growth in total pay remains in line with inflation, meaning real earnings are flat on the year.’

The figures will be seized upon by ministers who will say they show that the British economy is fundamentally performing well.

The figures also show that the number of 16 to 64 year-olds judged economically inactive from January to March this year has fallen by 115,000 compared to the three months before.  

Stephen Clarke, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation think-tank said: ‘Britain started 2018 as it has spent much of the last decade, with more impressive jobs growth but little prospect of recovering from its disastrous record on pay.

‘Employment has hit a record high, driven by male employment breaking the 80 per cent barrier for the first time in nearly three decades.

‘While the return to pay growth is very welcome it remains anaemic and wages are still over £700 a year lower than they were a decade ago. 

‘The stark fall in productivity in recent months suggests that a strong pay recovery remain some way off.’ 

The number of EU nationals working in the UK has fallen for the first time in eight years,the figures also show.

Chancellor Philip Hammond (pictured gong to Cabinet today)  hailed the new figures saying that Britons are starting to feel the benefit of having extra cash in their pockets.

Chancellor Philip Hammond (pictured gong to Cabinet today)  hailed the new figures saying that Britons are starting to feel the benefit of having extra cash in their pockets.

Chancellor Philip Hammond (pictured gong to Cabinet today)  hailed the new figures saying that Britons are starting to feel the benefit of having extra cash in their pockets.

There were an estimated 2.29 million overseas employees from the bloc in the first three months of this year.

Number of EU nationals working in the UK falls for the first time in eight years 

The number of EU nationals working in the UK has fallen for the first time in eight years, official figures reveal.

There were an estimated 2.29 million overseas employees from the bloc in the first three months of this year.

This was 28,000 fewer than the equivalent period of 2017, and marks the first year-on-year decrease since January to March 2010.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed the fall was driven by a steep drop in the number of workers from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.

But Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, pointed to figures for EU-born workers, which he said were 155,000 higher than in the same quarter before the referendum.

He said: ‘These new labour force figures dispose of any claim of a Brexodus.’

This was 28,000 fewer than the equivalent period of 2017, and marks the first year-on-year decrease since January to March 2010.

Figures showed the fall was driven by a steep drop in the number of workers from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.  

In the latest period, there were an estimated 917,000 nationals of the so-called EUA8 countries – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – in work in the UK.

This was down by 91,000 compared to January-March in 2017, the largest annual decrease since comparable records started in 1997.

Jonathan Portes, professor of Economics at King’s College London, said: ‘Today’s labour market statistics show a year-on-year fall in the number of European nationals working here, for the first time since the aftermath of the recession.

‘A combination of factors – a slowing economy here combined with recovery on the continent, but also the political and psychological impact of the Brexit vote – have made the UK a significantly less attractive place to live and work.’ 

But Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, pointed to figures for EU-born workers, which he said were 155,000 higher than in the same quarter before the referendum.

He said: ‘These new labour force figures dispose of any claim of a Brexodus.’

Theresa May, pictured with the UK team for the Invctus Games in London today, hailed the figures in Cabinet discussions today

Theresa May, pictured with the UK team for the Invctus Games in London today, hailed the figures in Cabinet discussions today

Theresa May, pictured with the UK team for the Invctus Games in London today, hailed the figures in Cabinet discussions today

 

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