Labour Research November 2004


Joblessness at 20-year low

Unemployment was down on both counts in the three months to August, according to the latest official figures. Under the Labour Force Survey (LFS) count, which includes people not eligible for benefits, it fell by 51,000 to 1.39 million compared with the previous three months.

The unemployment rate was down to 4.7% - the lowest level since comparable records began in 1984. There were 819,000 unemployed men (a 5.1% rate) and 568,000 unemployed women (a 4.2% rate).

The claimant count measure of unemployment, which only takes in those actually drawing benefit, showed its 16th consecutive monthly fall, dropping by just 200 on the previous month to 834,000 in September - the lowest level since July 1975. The rate under this measure was 2.7% - the lowest rate since April 1975.

The number of unemployed men on benefit fell to 621,500 (a 3.7% rate), while the number of women rose slightly to 212,500 (a 1.5% rate).

There were 662,800 job vacancies on average in the three months to September - up 55,700 on a year ago. There were 2.6 vacancies per 100 employee jobs, compared to 2.4 vacancies a year ago.

Jobs in manufacturing continued to fall - by 87,000 to 3.36 million in the three months to August.