Jobless total falls to 19-year low
Thursday 15 July 1999
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell by 5,200 to 1.28 million - the lowest level since June 1980. The number in work rose to a record 27.36 million.
Earnings growth eased to 4.3 per cent in May from 4.6 per cent in April - below the Bank's "tolerance threshold" of 4.5 per cent and the lowest since September 1997. However, real wage rises, excluding inflation, have soared from 1.7 per cent in December to 3 per cent in May.
Andrew Smith, the Employment Minister, hailed the figures as a "considerable achievement".
"There is continuing job generation without inflationary pressure. The UK's employment rate is second only to Denmark in the whole of the European Union," Mr Smith said. He welcomed the fall in earnings growth but warned that continued wage restraint was essential.
"Wage moderation is a key requisite for sustainable growth and job generation," he said.
Economists said the figures had postponed the need for interest rate rises. "Although the labour market remains tight and GDP growth is set to pick up strongly over the next year, any tightening in monetary policy remains some way off," said Richard Iley of ABN Amro.
The figures showed a twin-speed economy - both between services and industry and between North and South.
Manufacturing industry lost 153,000 jobs in the three months to May - a fall of 3.7 per cent - while the services sector workforce grew 1.5 per cent year-on-year.
Unemployment rose in the North-east, West Midlands, Wales, East Midlands and the South-west, according to Labour Force Survey data.
There were falls in eastern England, the South-east, London, Yorkshire and the North- west.
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
- 5 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...