In good news for the Government, unemployment in the UK has continued to fall with 46,000 people finding work between June and August. Compared to the same period last year, there are now 736,000 more people in employment.
The unemployment rate is now at 6% which is the lowest level since late 2008. There are currently 9.03m who are out of work with the UK seeing an economic inactivity rate of 22.2%.
Self-employment numbers had been rising over the last few quarters, but during June to August they fell bringing them to their lowest level since December to February 2014. This will be of interest to the country’s political parties as many have pledged support for UK freelancers and contractors in recent months.
The UK has nearly reached its highest ever rate of employment, which was 73.2% in Dec-Feb 2005. The current rate sits at 73% although some see this as being buoyed by the self-employed and zero hour contracts. Evidence does suggest though that many who move into self-employment are doing so out of choice rather than necessity.
While the latest employment figures are encouraging, there are still concerns about wages. John Allan, the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Business, said: “Falling unemployment is good for the UK economy. Small businesses are creating new jobs, but weak wage growth is still a concern. Government should use Autumn Statement as an opportunity to build on recent reforms and create the best possible environment to do business. This will enable employers to grow, pay their staff more and take on new employees.”