According to official statistics, the UK’s unemployment rate in the three months prior to January was merely 3.7%.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), between November 2022 and January of this year, there was a modest increase in the number of individuals employed, with a national employment rate of 75.7%.
Early predictions indicate that the payroll figures for February will show that 30 million people are now employed in Britain. This increase is thought to have been caused by an increase in part-time and self-employed workers.
Although the unemployment rate has not changed, the ONS reported that the number of persons who have been unemployed for more than a year has marginally grown over the past three months.
The numbers came amid a wave of public sector strikes involving junior doctors and other health professionals, civil employees, and transport unions, and were made public the day before Chancellor Jeremy Hunt presents his Spring Budget to Parliament.
The ONS attributes the decline in job openings in Britain between December and February to “uncertainty across industries, as survey respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment.” The ONS reports that the decline in vacancies was 51,000, or 1.12 million, over the three-month period.
According to the UK Statistical Authority, the number of people aged 16 to 24 seeking for work caused economic inactivity to decrease by 0.2% to 21.3% between November and January.
It also stated that employees’ regular pay growth (excluding bonuses) was 6.5% over the same time period, with the private sector experiencing the highest growth at 7% and the public sector experiencing the lowest growth at 4.8%.
The last time salary in the public sector climbed by this much was from December 2005 to February 2006, when it rose by 5.2%.
Notwithstanding these wage increases, the ONS reports that regular pay growth will only increase by 2.4% from November 2022 to January 2023 after accounting for inflation.
It stated: “A higher year-over-year decline in real total pay was last observed in February to April 2009, when it declined by 4.5%, although it still ranks among the worst declines in growth since comparable records began in 2001.”
220,000 working days were reportedly missed in January as a result of worker strikes calling for improved pay and working conditions, down from 822,000 in December of last year.