Unemployment Continues To Fall As Growth Picks Up

The Rate Of Unemployment Across The UK Has Continued To Fall As Growth Picks Up

14.11.2013

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The rate of unemployment across the UK has fallen again in the third quarter of 2013 (Q3) as economic growth picks up.

Around 71.8 per cent of Britons aged 16 to 64 were in employment, up 0.3 per cent from Q2 2013 and 0.6 from Q3 2012.

The overall level of unemployment fell from 7.8 per cent to 7.6 per cent on both Q2 2013 and Q3 2012.

Overall there were 29.95 million people in employment aged over 16, up by 378,000 from 12 months earlier - an indication that more people are leaving long-term unemployment and entering the wider workforce.

In similarly good news, the inactivity rate for those of working age (16 to 64) was 22.2 per cent, down by 0.2 per cent on the quarter and 0.4 per cent on the year.

The Bank of England, which is independent of any party political remit, said the figures were indicative of a wider sustained recovery in the economy.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England and former head of monetary policy in Canada, commented: "For the first time in a long time, you don't have to be an optimist to see the glass as half full. The recovery has finally taken hold. It is welcome that the economy is growing again."

The governor did, however, note that some caution was needed and that the unemployment level will have to decrease below seven per cent before it considers raising interest rates below their historic lows of 0.5 per cent.

One area of concern for the government is the huge numbers of people working in part-time roles because they cannot find a full-time position. Some 1.46m employees and self-employed people around the UK were in this position, the highest number since records began in 1992.

However, this may partly be down to good news in the economy, which has led people who may otherwise have been satisfied in a part-time role to believe there are enough full-time vacancies for them to move into this market.

Expert Opinion
SMEs are the backbone of the economy and they certainly deserve credit for their part in driving the current economic growth in the UK and reducing levels of unemployment.

“We are seeing from various industry reports that confidence levels are up amongst SMEs, something which has been backed up by a recent increase in economic output.

“It is vital, however, that the Government continues to support smaller firms and their ability to export. Future and sustainable economic growth requires a rebalancing of the economy in this direction and further success here will be mirrored in a continuing fall in unemployment statistics.

“Although businesses will welcome these figures, many will be keeping a close eye on what this means for interest rates. The Bank of England has recently provided some useful guidance on the long term future for rates and it is important that it continues to provide clarity in this area due to the impact it rates have on determining investment decisions.”
Steven Beahan, Partner