Labour Research (March 2016)


Unemployment heads downward

Last year, unemployment finished on a downward trajectory. The number of unemployed people fell by 60,000 to 1.69 million in the three months to December.

The fall in numbers under the Labour Force Survey count was enough to cut the unemployment rate to 5.1% from 5.3%.

The number of unemployed men fell by 33,000 to 924,000 and their unemployment rate was down to 5.2% from 5.4%. For women, the decrease was 27,000, taking their total down to 766,000 and their unemployment rate fell to 5.0% from 5.1%.

The unemployed youth rate — for 16- to 24-year-olds for the three months to December 2015 — was 13.6%, lower than the pre-downturn trough of 13.8% for the three months ending February 2008. However, the youth unemployment rate has been consistently higher than that for older age groups. Since comparable records began in 1992, the lowest rate was 11.6% for March to May 2001 while the highest rate was 22.5% for late 2011.

On the other main jobless count — the claimant count — numbers were down by 14,800 to 760,200 in January. Unemployment under this count only includes claimants of employment-related benefits, people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and the means-tested Universal Credit. The joblessness rate was cut to 2.2% from 2.3%.

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