UK unemployment falls despite economic uncertainty
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Unemployment in the UK has fallen by 0.2 per cent during the second quarter of the year, according to new statistics.
Findings from the Office for National Statistics show that during April, May and June, the unemployment rate was 8.1 per cent, representing 2.58 million out of work and a reduction of 65,000.
Further results reveal that the employment rate for those aged between 16 and 64 was 70.7 per cent, up 0.3 per cent on the quarter. The number of people in employment has increased by 181,000 to 29.35 million.
On the pay front, total earnings excluding bonuses have risen by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier, but unchanged on the first quarter of 2012.
Despite the findings, Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), says that the labour market continues to 'defy the laws of economic gravity', with employment up and unemployment down, despite stalling growth forecasts and inconsistent confidence.
Davies adds, 'The downside is that, for now, we have a seemingly entrenched pattern of falling productivity and subdued pay affecting the competitiveness of employers and the living standards of employees.'
The missing element, Davies believes, is economic growth, without which there remains a risk that another shock could send the labour market into reverse.
The proportion of the population that has been in long-term unemployment has increased. Those out of work for more than two years now stands at 441,000, up by 18,000 and the highest amount since 1997.
James Salt, director of jobs website totaljobs.com, comments, 'Given poor business confidence, tepid consumer spending, bad weather and bank holidays today's figures are a little unexpected.
'Whilst the picture has been improving of late, my concern is that the latest cohort of graduates are going to be entering the labour market. [The] figures, whilst welcome, do not point to the significant rise in vacancies that we'd need to offset this increase in the number of jobseekers.'