Unemployment hits 44-year low
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that employment rose by 24,000 in the three months to October, with the total up 309,000 on the same period in 2018. The employment rate hit 76.2% of the working-age population, a record high, while unemployment fell 13,000 on the quarter and by 93,000 on the year. For men the unemployment rate is 4%, while for women it is a record low of 3.5%. The figures show that annual pay growth slowed to 3.2% for the three months to October, with regular pay up 3.5% but bonuses falling 4.2%. The ONS identified 794,000 available job vacancies in the quarter, down from 853,000 a year ago. “Businesses have shown a strong appetite to take on staff in recent years, and climbing employment levels have boosted household incomes, adding buoyancy to the economy,” said Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors.