The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its UK labour market statistics for April to June 2016, confirming that there were 1.64m unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), and 52,000 fewer than for January to March 2016.
This was 207,000 fewer than for a year earlier and the lowest since March to May 2008. Connor Campbell, a senior market analyst at www.spreadex.com, has commented:
“There are a few caveats attached to this morning’s data; the unemployment rate (unchanged at 4.9%, though it did fall to a fresh post-financial crisis low) and wage growth (up to 2.4% from 2.3% month-on-month, but lower than the 2.5% forecast) readings both cover the 3 months to the end of June, missing out on the real Brexit meat. And, obviously, it is well worth remembering that we are at the start of a very long journey, even if the past 2 months or so have packed enough drama in to last for years.
With regards to older workers, Rachael Saunders, age at work director at Business in the Community, said, “Whilst it’s always positive that employment rates for older workers are increasing, it’s not enough progress to reverse employment skills gap employers are currently facing – a talent gap of 7.7 million empty roles by 2022. These percentage increases hide what are actually small increases of absolute numbers in the older age group.
“As expected, more men over 50 are in work than women, and whilst the rate of women aged 50-64 in work is increasing slightly faster than men – it is again too small an increase to bode well for gender parity for future older female workers. This reflects established cultural norms established over a long period of time, which must be addressed to make recruitment and progression fair for men and women of all ages.
“This data reiterates and reinforces the need for businesses to act now to ensure it can retain skills and experience of older workers and equip them to thrive in modern work environments.”