Female employment is the highest on record, with wage growth rising at its fastest pace in over a year.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the three months from the end of August last year saw 69.9% of 16 to 64-year-old women in work. This compares to 69.1% a year earlier, and the highest female employment rate since records first began in 1971.
Wages, including bonuses, has also risen by an annual rate of 2.8% in the same period. This is the biggest increase since August 2015. Welcome news for many people who have felt their budgets tighten by higher inflation. And as long as consumer spending remains at the same level, it’ll also be a boost to the UK economy.
Drop in overall employment
The ONS say that unemployment fell by 52,000 to 1.6 million, the lowest level for over a decade. Furthermore, the rate of unemployment stayed consistent at 4.8%. This could indicate that the job market has held firm, despite uncertainty following the UK’s voting to leave the EU.
The Bank of England said unemployment could stay under 5% for an extended time. This would add to earlier predictions that the Brexit vote would lead to increased unemployment.
While many companies have adopted a wait and see approach since the Brexit vote, the UK labour market has held reasonably well. But the number of people in work fell by 9,000 to just over 31.8 million. The second consecutive quarter of decline.
Figures show that 8.89 million 16 to 64-year-old people either didn’t have jobs, or weren’t looking for work. This is 85,000 more than for June to August 2016, but 63,000 down on the year before.
What can we expect in 2017?
Economists expect that this year will be increasingly difficult for the economy and the jobs market. Falling consumer buying power and businesses becoming more cautious over Brexit, could impact on growth and employment. This will become apparent once Article 50 is finally triggered and the UK’s negotiations with the EU come to the forefront.