Press release

Positive steps in improving labour market

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

The Minister for Employment today welcomed further signs of improvement to the labour market.

The Minister for Employment today welcomed further signs of improvement to the labour market.

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show another rise in employment, up 105,000 to 29.23m (ILO measure).  Employment has now been rising since last autumn. This is complemented by another fall in unemployment, down by 45,000 on the quarter, to 2.63 million.

There has also been a fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, down 13,700 between March and April 2012. Following a revision to the figures published last month, there was also a fall of 5,400 between February and March. This is despite welfare reforms such as Incapacity Benefit reassessment that are leading to more people who previously claimed other benefits moving onto JSA.

Today’s figures also show signs of improvement in youth unemployment.  The number of 16 to 24-year-olds who have left full-time education and are seeking work is now 707,000, down 24,000 on the quarter. The number of full-time students looking for a job is 314,000.  This comes at the same time as the Department for Work and Pensions releases figures showing almost 50,000 18 to 24 year olds have undertaken a work experience placement since January 2011.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:

These figures are a welcome step in the right direction.  For a number of months now employment has been growing and this is starting to feed through into improving unemployment figures. However, we still face significant international uncertainty so we need to hold firm on our current economic strategy and continue to do everything we can to ensure unemployment continues to fall.

Notes to Editors:

Background to labour market statistics: May 2012

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers January to March 2012. The claimant count is for April 2012 and the vacancy estimate for February to April 2012.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

  • 29.23 million people were in work in January to March 2012.
  • the employment level rose 105 thousand on the previous quarter but fell 7 thousand on the year.
  • the employment rate is 70.5%, up 0.2 points on the quarter but down 0.2 points on the year.

ILO unemployment fell this quarter

  • 2.63 million people were ILO unemployed in the January to March 2012 quarter, down by 45 thousand on the October to December 2012 period but up 170 thousand on the same quarter last year.
  • the ILO unemployment rate is 8.2%, down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter but up 0.5 percentage points on the year.

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

  • the economic inactivity level is 9.25 million, down 35 thousand on the quarter and 73 thousand on the year.
  • the economic inactivity rate is 23.0%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and 0.2 points on the year.
  • excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 17.4%, unchanged on the quarter but down 0.2 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 1,590  thousand in April 2012, down 13.7 thousand on the level in March 2012, but up 106.6 thousand on the year.
  • following a revision to the figure published last month, the claimant count also fell by 5,400 between February and March.
  • this is despite the continuing effect of reforms such as re-assessment of incapacity benefit claims and equalisation of state pension age, which are likely to have added to the JSA caseload.
  • the claimant unemployment rate, at 4.9%, is unchanged on the month but up 0.3 percentage points on the year.
  • in the year to November 2011, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 11,000 to 2.58 million. The most recent provisional figure for March 2012 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.54 million.
  • in the year to November 2011, the number of lone parents on income support fell 67,000 to 582,000. Provisional figures for March 2012 suggest the number has fallen further in recent months, to 575,000.

The number of redundancies rose on the quarter while the number of unfilled vacancies fell

  • There were 172 thousand redundancies in January to March 2012, up 7 thousand on the previous quarter and 49 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 457 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to April 2012, down 7 thousand on the quarter and down 12 thousand on the year.
  • Jobcentre Plus took nearly a million new vacancies in the three months to March 2012, up 16% on the same period last year.

Total weekly pay in January to March 2012 was up by 0.6% over the year

  • growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 1.6% on the year.