Press release

Government welcomes one million boost to private sector employment

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Employment Minister Mark Hoban has welcomed another fall in unemployment.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban has welcomed another fall in unemployment as figures showed private sector employment has risen by more than one million since May 2010.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the number of people in employment rose by 236,000 in the three months from May to July compared to the previous quarter - including 100,000 more people in full-time posts. Unemployment fell by 7,000 during the same period.

The number of people in private sector employment rose by 275,000 in the last quarter and is now nearly 1.2 million higher than in May 2010. The quarterly increase more than offset a 39,000 fall in public sector employment. These figures are adjusted for the effect of further education colleges being reclassified by the ONS from the public to the private sector.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance was down 15,000 to 1.57m in August - despite policy changes, including the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants and rules on lone parents claiming income support, meaning more non-working people are transferring to Jobseekers Allowance from other benefits. The total number of people claiming the main out of work benefits is now 140,000 lower than in May 2010.

The number of 18 to 24 year olds in employment also rose by 58,000, and the number of young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell by 10,900 in August. However, there was a slight rise in unemployment among this age group of 7,000. Excluding full-time students, there are 716,000 16 to 24 year olds who are unemployed.

Of the increase in employment of 236,000, there was a rise of 91,000 in London, accompanied by a 22,000 fall in unemployment, suggesting the Olympics may have added to the boost. But the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell in every English region as well as Wales and Scotland, and employment rose in all but two regions.

The UK unemployment rate of 8.1% is considerably lower than the Eurozone average of 11.3%, European Union average of 10.4% and lower than France (10.3%) and Spain (25.1%).

Mark Hoban said:

British businesses deserve great credit for continuing to create jobs even in these tough economic times, and now we have one million more people working in the private sector than in May 2010.

With 140,000 fewer people on the main out of work benefits, there are also real signs that our welfare reforms are working.

Today’s fall in unemployment is further welcome news but we know there are still challenges ahead. We will continue to work hard to create the conditions for businesses to grow and provide people with the support they need to get back into work.

Notes to Editors

Background to labour market statistics: September 2012

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers May to July 2012. The claimant count is for August 2012 and the vacancy count for June to August 2012.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

  • 29.56 million people were in work in May to July 2012.
  • The employment level rose 236 thousand on the previous quarter and 431 thousand on the year.
  • The employment rate is 71.2%, up 0.5 points on the quarter and up 0.8 points on the year.

ILO unemployment fell slightly this quarter

  • 2.59 million people were ILO unemployed in the May to July 2012 quarter, down by 7 thousand on the February 2012 to April 2012 period but up 61 thousand on the same quarter last year.
  • The ILO unemployment rate is 8.1 %, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter but up 0.1 percentage points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is down on the quarter and on the year

  • The economic inactivity level is 9.01 million, down 181 thousand on the quarter and 375 thousand on the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate is 22.4%, down 0.5 points on the quarter and 0.9 points on the year.
  • Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 17.1%, down 0.3 points on the quarter and down 0.7 points on the year.

The number of people on JSA fell this month, and the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is also improving

  • Claimant unemployment was 1,570.5 thousand in August 2012, down 15.0 thousand on the level in July 2012 and down 3.6 thousand on the year.
  • the claimant unemployment rate, at 4.8%, is unchanged on the month and the year.
  • the figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including reforms to eligibility for lone parent benefits and re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits.  Both are likely to have added to the JSA caseload between July and August.
  • in the year to February 2012, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 21,000 to 2.56 million. The most recent provisional figure for July 2012 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.505 million.
  • in the year to February 2012, the number of lone parents on income support fell 30,000 to 584,000. The provisional figure for July 2012 is 555,000, suggesting that the level is trending downwards.

The number of redundancies fell and unfilled vacancies are steady

  • There were 142 thousand redundancies in May to July 2012 quarter, down 13 thousand on the previous quarter and down 21 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 473 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to August 2012, up 5 thousand on the quarter and 14 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in July 2012 was up by 1.5% over the year

  • growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 1.9% on the year.

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