Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Job market still holding up - earnings up
Posted by David Smith at 11:30 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

Given the debate over whether the economy has shown any growth over the latest quarter, indeed over the latest nine months, the labour market is still doing pretty well. On the Labour Force Survey measure, employment rose by 50,000 over the March-May period (though 31,000 of this was in part-time jobs), while LFS unemployment fell by 26,000.

The employment rate ws 70.7%, the same as in the December-February period, while the unemployment rate slipped to 7.7% compared with that previous three-month period. The level of unemployment is currently 2.45m. It has been around the 2.5m mark for a long time. Employment has risen by 309,000 over the past year. Interestingly, given the growth debate, most of that increase - 187,000 - has occurred over the past two quarters.

The Office for National Statistics records that in the 12-month period to March, there was a rise of 77,000 in UK-born employment, and a rise of 334,000 in non-UK born employment. However, it adds: "The number of non-UK born people in employment is greater than the number of non-UK nationals in employment, as the non-UK born series includes many UK nationals. The estimates relate to the number of people in employment rather than the number of jobs. These statistics have sometimes been incorrectly interpreted as indicating the proportion of new jobs that are taken by foreign migrants."

The claimant count rose, however, by 24,500 to 1.52m, or 4.7% of the workforce. Some of this reflects claimants being moved off other benefits. It is also indicative, however, of some underlying softening of the labour market.

Also of note was a rise in average earninsg growth from 2% to 2.3%. This is not yet enough to worry the Bank of England but it is moving in that direction. All the figures are here.