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UK – Temporary employee figures decrease, unemployment at lowest level since 1975

The number of temporary employees in the UK fell by 2.1% to a total of 1.58 million in the three-month period from March 2017 to May 2017 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to seasonally adjusted figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Estimates from the ONS Labour Force Survey show that there were 32.0 million people in work for the three-period to May 2017, an increase of 324,000 compared to a year earlier. The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) stood at 74.9% for the same period, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate stood at 4.5%, down from 4.9% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975. There were 1.49 million unemployed people, 152,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

Latest estimates from the ONS also show that average weekly earnings for employees in the UK in nominal terms (not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 1.8% including bonuses, and by 2.0% excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier. In real terms (adjusted for price inflation) average weekly earnings fell by 0.7% including bonuses, and fell by 0.5% excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

In the period from April to June 2017, there were 774,000 job vacancies, 29,000 more than for a year earlier.

“The jobs market has continued on a positive trend, with the employment rate reaching another record high,” Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy Tom Hadley said. “This is driven by strong demand for staff as businesses look to expand.

“With the unemployment rate at its lowest since 1975, there is no relief for employers struggling to fill vacancies,” Hadley said. “We rely on people from abroad and need an immigration system based on this reality. At the same time, employers are reaching out to encourage applicants from underrepresented groups and are reviewing hiring practices.”

“The Matthew Taylor report, encourages businesses to drive good employment practices, which is increasingly important as a way of attracting and retaining staff,” Hadley said.