Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Booming: UK employment hits record high

Booming: UK employment hits record high

Employment rose to 32.3m, the highest number since records began in 1971.

However Output-per-hour fell by 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months to March after a 0.7 percent rise in the fourth quarter of 2017, marking the biggest fall since late 2015 and denting hopes that British productivity was on the mend. Consumer-price inflation averaged 2.7 per cent in the same period and the rate is expected to slow further as the effect of the pound's 2016 losses fade.

A 400,000-person surge in employment over the past year was driven by United Kingdom nationals, possibly reflecting the sharp decline in net migration since the vote to leave the European Union.

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

United Kingdom employers hired a record rate of 75.6 per cent workers in early 2018, but wage growth has yet to accelerate sharply, according to latest figures.

Separate figures out today showed that 870,000 people are now on Universal Credit as the rollout of the new benefit continues.

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The figure for non-UK nationals from outside the United Kingdom increased by 20,000 to 1.25 million. There was a record 91,000 drop in employment among citizens of the eight European Union countries that joined the European Union in 2004.

The proportion of all people working in the United Kingdom accounted for by non-UK nationals has increased from 3.5% in 1997 to 11% now.

The number of people not in work was 118,000 between January and March, down from 124,000 in the previous three months.

The number of self-employed workers fell by 33,000 to 4.75 million.

Northern Ireland had the lowest regional unemployment rate at 3.1 per cent while Wales recorded 4.4% per cent. Excluding bonuses, private-sector pay growth accelerated to 3 per cent, with the figure for March alone reaching 3.1 per cent.

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