The UK’s latest labour market stats have seen the country continue its upward trend in terms of employment. Rising by 345,000 to 30.54m in the February to April period, 72.9% of the working population are now in employment. That’s shy of pre-recession levels by 0.1%.

The country has also seen its lowest unemployment rate in five years with it now down to 6.6%. This has been attributed to the self-employed, with some debate on what that means. The number of self-employed has actually fallen compared to the previous figures though. It now sits at 4.54m compared to 4.55m last month.

While there are plenty of more people in work, the real wages are falling across the board. Including bonuses pay has risen by 0.7%, while excluding them it’s gone up by 0.9%. This is unfortunately up against the 1.8% rise in inflation meaning we’re getting less for our wages still.

As usual, there were some regional variations. The South East employment rate sits at 76.4% compared to just 69.5% in the North East.

The largest decrease in the unemployment rate was seen in South West and East Midlands with a 1% drop. There was only one region in the country that saw it rise which was the North East with it going up by 0.3%.
Image by Seattle Municipal Archive.