UK unemployment: Over-65 workers hit record 1m with modest growth in jobs market

But unemployment rate remains well above pre-crisis levels and pay growth is still weak

The jobs market managed to eke out some modest growth in the three months to April, but the unemployment rate remains well above pre-crisis levels and pay growth is still weak official figures showed today.

The number of people in employment rose by 24,000 over the period to 29.76 million and the numbers out of work fell by 5,000 to 2.51 million. But the official unemployment rate remained fixed at 7.8 per cent. The Office for National Statistics also reported that the number of people claiming the dole fell by 8,600 in May to 1.51 million.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also showed that just over a million people over the age of 65 are in work, the highest since records began in 1971. Almost one in 10 people in the age group are working - 615,000 men and 388,000 women.

There was a slight improvement in pay growth over the period, although workers' remuneration is still running well below the annual rate of inflation. Total pay was up 1.3 per cent over the same three months of 2012. The most recent Consumer Prices Index inflation figures showed a 2.4 per cent annual increase in the cost of living in April. The pay growth was likely to reflect some workers' opting to defer bonuses from the 2012/13 tax year in order to take advantage in the fall in the top rate of tax in April.

Some City of London analysts described the figures as "encouraging" and said that they reflected the general improvement seen in the economy since the beginning of the year. "Coupled with recent better business survey figures and rising consumer and business confidence suggests we should be looking for a positive GDP figure for the second quarter of 2013" said James Knightley of ING.

But others cautioned that weak pay growth would likely to continue to hold back growth. "Further falls in real pay look likely for the next year or so, suggesting that it will be a struggle for any consumer recovery to gain traction" said Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics.

The ONS also released its single month estimates for the jobs market in April, which are not official designated as national statistics because they are based on a smaller sample than the full workforce survey. These figures suggested that unemployment rose by 219,000 and that employment fell 120,000 in the month.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said: "It's a credit to the growth of British businesses up and down the country that we now have a record number of people employed in the private sector.

"Our priority is getting people back into work and today's figures show we have more people in work than ever before, more women in work than ever before, and more hours worked in the economy than ever before.

"With the number of people in work increasing, and unemployment down, these are welcome figures. The fact that youth unemployment is also down is a positive sign.

"But we are not complacent - through schemes like the Work Programme and the Youth Contract we will continue to help people find the jobs they need so they can realise their aspiration of looking after themselves and their families and help the country compete in the global race."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: "The tiniest glimmer of light is to be welcomed but today's figures confirm the awful truth that there's been practically zero progress tackling unemployment since last summer.

"Pay packets have continued to take an absolute hammering while the Government is cutting tax credits.

"Long-term unemployment is becoming more deep-set and employers are reporting skills shortages and more part-time workers are saying they're desperate for a full-time job.

"The bottom line is unemployment is now higher than it was at the last election, and today unemployment rose again in two-thirds of England.

"Long-term unemployment is now a massive 100,000 higher than back in 2010, the number of women out of work has risen yet again, and last month saw a fall in the number of people coming off benefits."

Peter Searle, chief executive of recruitment firm Adecco, said: "Britain still faces unacceptable levels of youth unemployment and urgent action is required to get young people into work.

"Greater commitment is required from businesses to create relevant work experience opportunities, and employers need to be more engaged in education. This will ensure that young people gain the employability skills so desperately needed.

"We have done little as a nation to tackle the issue, and unless there is a structured collaboration between employers, education and the Government, we risk a lost generation of jobseekers who are excluded, possibly permanently, from employment."

Regional unemployment between February and April (tabulate under region, total unemployed, change on quarter and unemployment rate):

North East, 131,000, plus 4,000, 10.1 per cent

North West, 273,000, minus 28,000, 7.9 per cent

Yorkshire and the Humber, 244,000, minus 2,000, 8.9 per cent

East Midlands, 179,000, plus 1,000, 7.8 per cent

West Midlands, 259,000, plus 19,000, 9.4 per cent

East of England, 208,000, plus 1,000, 6.7 per cent

London, 366,000, plus 1,000, 8.5 per cent

South East, 297,000, minus 2,000, 6.6 per cent

South West, 168,000, plus 12,000, 6.2 per cent

Wales, 125,000, no change, 8.4 per cent

Scotland, 194,000, minus 6,000, 7.1 per cent

Northern Ireland, 68,000, minus 5,000, 7.8 per cent

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Finance Manager - Bank - Leeds - £300/day

£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...

Compliance Officer - CF10, CF11, Compliance Oversight, AML, FX

£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn