Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Falling unemployment, weak earnings
Posted by David Smith at 11:30 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

Another generally good set of labour market statistics, with unemployment down by 82,000 in the August-October period compared with May-July to 2.51m, and down by 128,000 on a year earlier. The unemployment rate, 7.8%, compared with 8% in May-July and 8.3% a year earlier. The resilience of the labour market in the fact of apparently weak growth continues to be striking.

In the latest three months employment rose by a modest 40,000, though this was enough to take it to a record 29.6m (though the composition has changed compared with the previous high). More impressive was the rise compared with a year earlier, a very strong 499,000.

The private sector continues to drive the rise in employment, with a rise of 65,000 in the third quarter, compared with a drop of 24,000 in public sector employment. Between September 2011 and September 2012 private sector employment rose by an astonishing 823,000 (though 200,000 is due to classification changes), while public sector employment fell by 324,000. Leaving out the classification changes (mainly affecting further education colleges), the figures would be roughly 623,000 and 124,000 respectively.

Rising employment/falling unemployment and subdued wages are all part of the same story and so it continues. In August-October total pay, including bonuses, was up by 1.8% on a year earlier, so still falling in real terms. More here.