Labour Research March 2017


Joblessness lowest for 11 years

UK unemployment has fallen to its lowest level for almost 11 years. Under the Labour Force Survey (LFS) count, the number of unemployed people fell by 7,000 to 1.6 million in the three-month period October to December 2016. The LFS count was last lower in the three-month period ending February 2006.

The fall was due to fewer women being out of work. Their numbers fell by 8,000 to 720,000, and their unemployment rate fell to 4.6% from the 4.7% rate for the previous three-month period ending September 2016. The number of unemployed men rose by 1,000 to 877,000, but their unemployment rate remained at 4.9%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

For the third consecutive three-month period, the overall unemployment rate stood at 4.8%. The rate was last lower, at 4.7%, in the three-month period ending September 2005.

The claimant count — which only includes claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance and those on the means-tested Universal Credit — posted a large fall in numbers. In January 2017, unemployment under this count fell by 42,400 to 745,000 from the revised figure for December 2016 of 787,400. 

The fall in numbers helped cut the joblessness rate which fell to 2.1% in January from the 2.3% rate posted for the previous five months.