Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Good news on unemployment
Posted by David Smith at 10:00 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

Any rise in unemployment is unwelcome but the latest figures were encouraging, showing a smaller than expected rise in the claimant count, 20,800, and a much smaller rise in the Labour Force Survey measure, 88,000 over the latest three months, than expected. Those of us who said the LFS would follow the claimant count in showing that the pace of the jobless rise was slowing have been proved right.

On the LFS measure, unemployment remained just below 2.5m, having been expected to rise above it. Its 88,000 rise to 2.469m for the June-August period compared with a 271,000 increase in the March-May period. The unemployment rate stayed at 7.9%. Interestingly enough, the unemployment level initially reported a month ago, covering the May-July period, was 2.47m, suggesting if anything that on this measure unemployment has slipped a little, though that is probably pushing it given the nature of the data. The claimant count level was 1.63m, and the rate ticked up to 5%.

Average earnings growth remained low. but again was not as weak as expected. Excluding bonuses, the rate was 1.9%, the lowest since the current series began in 2001. Including bonuses it was 1.6%. More details here.