Employment, wages and young workers: latest UK findings

The latest set of employment figures are, on the whole, a promising sign that the UK job markets have been resilient in the face of adversity this year. As always, improvements can still be made, which we outline below, but plenty of positive conclusions have been made since the start of the year about how UK markets provide stable and continuous job prospects for workers old and young. Here are the most recent statistical highlights.


The number of people in work has risen gradually throughout the year, despite Brexit jitters affecting confidence. In fact, the UK employment rate hit another record high in the months ahead of the EU referendum, while the total number of unemployed Britons dipped to its lowest level in a decade. The following statistics outline the jobs market between March to May 2016:

  • Unemployment fell to 4.9% while overall employment rose to 74.4%: totalling 31.70 million people.
  • The number of part-time UK workers has rose to 8.52 million – 223,000 more than a year earlier.
  • 23.19 million people were working full-time during this period – 401,000 more than a year earlier.
  • 903,000 men were unemployed, 108,000 fewer than the same period in 2015, while 742,000 women were registered as unemployed – 93,000 less than a year ago.
  • The inactivity rate (people aged 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) declined to 21.6%; the lowest level since comparable records began in 1971.
  • Vacancies for April to June totalled 747,000 openings – 10,000 fewer than for January to March. Almost 90% of this total job creation (672,000) was in the services sectors, most notably wholesaling, retailing, motor vehicle repairs and human health and social work.
  • The highest regional employment rate between March and May was in the South East (78.3) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (69.0%). Unemployment was highest in the North East in the same period (7.4%), while the East of England recorded the lowest rate (3.5%). 

Wage growth

It’s no secret that UK wage growth has been stunted since the financial crash in 2007. The only other advanced country that has fared worse in this time period is Greece. According to a report by the national trade union centre TUC, real earnings have declined by more than 10%, however, earnings began to rise faster than costs since inflation first dropped significantly. Here’s what we know:

  • Weekly earnings increased by 2.3% including bonuses and 2.2% without before price inflation adjustments.
  • By May, the average weekly pay (excluding bonuses) was £471, £10 more per week from May 2015.
  • Average total pay (including bonuses) in the UK reached £502, £10 more for a year earlier.
  • Workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing experienced the highest increase between January to March 2015 and the same period in 2016, with an average increase of 14.4%, while wages in the mining and quarrying industries incurred the largest decrease, with a decline of 7.2%.
  • Private sector workers fared better in the first quarter of 2016, with a labour costs per hour increase of 3.3%, compared to a slight 1.1% rise in the public sector.
  • Wages in January to March increased by 2.7% compared with the same time period in 2015. Non-wage costs per hour worked (additional benefits like pensions, national insurance contributions, maternity and paternity pay, and sickness pay) rose by 4.0%.

Employment pictureYoung people in work

LoveLocalJobs.com is passionate about championing young people in the world of work. Our site and services provide a dedicated outlet for young job seekers to progress within the industry of their choice. The latest labour figures between March and May of this year paint a promising picture of healthy employment within the 16 to 24 age group:

  • 3.96 million people were in work, compared to 617,000 unemployed people – including 215,000 full-time students looking for part-time hours.
  • 931,000 full-time students had part-time jobs.
  • 2.64 million were classed as economically inactive, the large majority of which were full-time students.
  • The latest set of provisional apprenticeship figures from August 2015 to January 2016 show a mixed picture, with only a 7% increase in the number of under 19 apprentices (up to a total of 84,200), while the number of 19 to 24-year-old apprentices dropped by 4.7% from a year earlier to a total of 77,100 people.
  • From March to May 2016, youth unemployment was 13.5%: 2.2% lower than for a year earlier – the lowest rate since September 2005.
  • The number of 16 to 24-year-olds in work has risen by 17.8% since comparable records began in March to May 1992.

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