link.png Employment at its highest since records began← Back

For those currently in search of a job, prospects are looking increasingly bright. As Chancellor George Osboune prepares to deliver the Budget for 2015 today, the ONS has published the latest statistics on the UK labour market for the last quarter. The ONS’ figures are based on people aged 16-64, from the three month period of November 2014 to January 2015.

According to the ONS an additional 143,000 people were recruited in those three months. This means that 73.3% of people aged 16-64 were in work in this period, up from 72.1% a year earlier and making it the highest rate since records first started in 1971.  Business secretary Vince Cable commented that this was a “historic moment”, saying: "With almost three quarters of working age people now in work, we have achieved the highest rate of employment in the UK since records began.”
 
Despite there being signs of recovery with higher levels of recruitment in the UK's job market, on the whole the rise of wages slowed down in the three months to January 2015. The average weekly wage stood at £483, as it growth edged up by 1.6% excluding bonuses, and by 1.8% including bonuses compared to the same period a year ago. Forecast had originally predicted that salaries would go up by 2.2%. The ONS indicated that this shortfall was possibly because fewer bonuses were awarded in January than in the month of December.
 
With May’s General Election in the offing, these statistics have been under particular scrutiny.