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More people in work, higher wages, but unemployment also higher: labor force survey

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-12-12 01:12

LONDON, Dec.11 -- The employment rate in Britain has increased to 75.7 percent, the joint highest level since comparable records started in 1971, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Tuesday.

The rate refers to the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work.

But the ONS figures also revealed that unemployment (people not in work but seeking and available to work) in August to October quarter rose by 20,000 to 1.38 million over the previous quarter.

The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was estimated in the latest quarter to be 4.1 percent, virtually unchanged compared with May to July 2018 but lower than the estimate for a year earlier when it was 4.3 percent.

The number of people in work and the number of unemployed people both increased but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking nor available to work (economically inactive) decreased.

Latest estimates from ONS's Labor Force Survey showed that 32.4 million people aged 16 to 64 have jobs.

The employment rates for both men and women have been generally increasing since early 2012, said ONS. The levels are much higher than the levels in 1983 when, during an economic downturn, it was 65.6 percent of the adult working age population.

Average weekly earnings for workers in Britain in nominal terms increased by 3.3 percent, both excluding and including bonuses, compared with a year earlier. When adjusted for price inflation it represents a pay increase in real terms of 1 percent compared with a year earlier.

The average regular pay (excluding bonuses), before tax and other deductions from pay, for employees in Britain was 495 pounds a week, up from 479 pounds a week for a year earlier.

ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said: "The employment rate has continued to rise in the most recent three months, returning to a joint record high, boosted by an increase in full-time workers, while the unemployment rate was virtually unchanged. Real earnings are now growing faster than any time since around the end of 2016."

The figures show there are 15 million men and just over 9 million women with full-time jobs, with 6.2 million women and 2.3 million men in part-time work. People working full-time worked, on average, 37.3 hours a week, 0.2 hours more than for May to July 2018 but unchanged compared with a year earlier. Part-time staff worked, on average, 16.4 hours a week which was also 0.2 hours more than for May to July 2018 and for a year earlier.

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