UK unemployment falls again as jobs market defies the slump
The labour market continued to defy gravity in the final three months of 2012, with employment rising and the jobless rate falling despite a decline in output over the same period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The number of people in employment rose by 154,000 between September and December on the previous three months, with the work force hitting 29.73 million.
The number of unemployed people also fell by 14,000 quarter on quarter, taking the unemployment rate down to 7.8 per cent.
In addition, there were some signs of an improvement in the quality of the jobs being created. The number of people in full-time positions rose by 197,000, while the numbers in part-time work fell 43,000. There was also a decline in the number who said they were working part time because they could not find a full-time post.
The ONS reported last month that Britain's gross domestic product contracted by 0.3 per cent over the period. The divergence between weak output figures and robust job creation data has led to rising concerns about a collapse in the productivity of British workers with some economists warning that this bodes badly for the UK's future growth potential.
The official data also showed that workers continue to be squeezed by rises in the cost of living.
Pay, excluding bonuses, rose by 1.3 per cent in the quarter on the same period of 2011, well below the 2.7 per cent annual rate of consumer prices inflation.
"The UK jobs market continues to astound," said John Philpott, director of the Jobs Economist.
He added: "We are in a middle of both a jobs boom and a pay slump as jobseekers struggle to gain or retain employment in a stagnant economy by pricing themselves into work.
"This is unlike anything seen in this country since the Second World War, with the economy using more and more people at falling real rates of pay to produce a static level of output".
The number claiming dole fell by 12,500 in January from the previous month. However, there was some more disappointing news on youth unemployment. Those aged between 16 and 24 out of work rose to 974,000, up 17,000 on the three months to November.
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
Negotiable: h2 Recruit Ltd: A rapidly expanding, global Software/ SaaS Vendor ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...