Press release

Grayling: more encouraging signs in the labour market as employment rises and unemployment falls

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

New figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show another rise in employment and a fall in overall unemployment.

New figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show another rise in employment and a fall in overall unemployment. The figures indicate that the economy is recovering, with over half a million more people in private sector jobs compared to this time last year.

The number of unemployed 16-24-year-olds not in full time education fell by 71,000, the third consecutive quarterly fall, to reach 618,000 - the lowest level since January 2009. In total there are now 895,000 young people classed as unemployed, including students looking for a job.

Ministers are clear that while these figures are promising they are cautious about the monthly rise in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). A significant part of the rise can be attributed to lone parents and incapacity benefit claimants moving from their existing benefit onto JSA.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:

This is another encouraging set of figures and a very welcome drop in unemployment. It’s also good news that employment is going in the right direction with half a million more people in private sector jobs compared to this time last year. The fall in the number of unemployed young people also means that the total is now lower than it was before the general election.

However, we still face a challenge to help more of the long term unemployed into work. Last week I announced that the new Work Programme is now up and running and will provide tailored support for more people on benefits.

Last week the Government launched its new Work Programme which gives jobseekers who need extra support the help to get back into sustained employment. Private and voluntary sector organisations are investing £581m upfront in the biggest welfare to work programme this country has ever seen to provide tailored support built around the needs of individuals. Organisations will be paid by results and allowed to develop support that really addresses the needs of jobseekers.

Notes to Editors:

Background to labour market statistics: June 2011

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers February to April 2011. The claimant count and Jobcentre Plus vacancy count dates were 12th and 6th May 2011 respectively.

**The number of people in work rose this quarter **

  • 29.24 million people were in work in February to April 2011.
  • the employment level was 80 thousand higher than the previous quarter and up 376 thousand on the year.
  • the employment rate is 70.6%, up 0.1 percentage points on the quarter, and up 0.4 points on the year.

**ILO unemployment fell this quarter **

  • 2.43 million people were ILO unemployed in the February to April quarter, down by 88 thousand on the November to January period and down 57 thousand on the same quarter last year. 
  • the ILO unemployment rate is 7.7%, down 0.3 percentage points on the quarter and down 0.3 percentage points on the year.

The number of people on JSA rose this month, but the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is improving:

  • claimant unemployment was 1,492.7 thousand in May 2011, up 19.6 thousand on the level in April 2011, and up 5.2 thousand on the year. 
  • the claimant unemployment rate, at 4.6%, is up 0.1 percentage points on the month but unchanged on the year.
  • the figures are affected by policy changes, including reforms to eligibility for lone parent and incapacity benefits and the equalisation of state pension age, which are adding to the number of people claiming JSA.
  • In the year to November 2010, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 32,000 to 2.59 million. The most recent provisional figure for April 2011 is 2.57 million.
  • in the year to November 2010, the number of lone parents on income support fell 47,400 to 648,300. Provisional figures for April 2011 suggest the number has fallen further in recent months, to 600,000, driven by welfare reform.

**The level of economic inactivity is up on the quarter but down on the year **

  • the economic inactivity level is 9.4 million, up 39 thousand on the quarter but down 41 thousand on the year.
  • the economic inactivity rate is 23.3%, up by 0.1 points on the quarter but down 0.2 points on the year.
  • excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 17.6%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and down 0.2 points on the year.

The number of vacancies and redundancies fell

  • There were 116 thousand redundancies in February to April 2011, down 27 thousand on the previous quarter and down 56 thousand on the year.__
  • ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 456 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to May 2011, down 39 thousand on the quarter and down 21 thousand on the year.__

Total weekly pay in February to April was up by 1.8% over the year

  • growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 2.0% on the year.