UK number of unemployed down to seven year low

The jobless rate in the UK continued to drop, according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the number of unemployed at a seven year low.

The number of unemployed dropped to a seven year low of 1.83 million in the first quarter, down 35,000 from the previous quarter.

The size of the UK’s workforce increased to 31.1 million and average pay, excluding bonuses, climbed 2.2% in the year to March, up 0.2% on the previous month.

Regular pay is growing at the fastest rate in almost four years and the rate of pay increases has outpaced the prevailing annual rate of inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index.

Over the past year UK employment has increased by 564,000. A total of 202,000 additional jobs were created in the last three months alone.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance dropped in April to 763,000 – the 30th consecutive monthly drop.

The new Conservative Work and Pensions Minister, Priti Patel, welcomed the figures:

“This is a testament to our long-term economic plan, the work the government has been doing with our focus on job creation, creating the right economic conditions for businesses to expand and grow so they can employ people again, so this is very welcome news today,” she said.

“We’re creating the right conditions for businesses to expand and grow to employ people again.”

The Institute of Directors (IoD) spokesman James Sproule said:

“Now that the economy is growing, employees are naturally looking for real terms increases in their salaries,”

“IoD members tell us that they are able to increase wages because of improved corporate performance, meaning these wage increases are sustainable.”