Record Employment in an Increasingly Competitive Job Market

The UK has record high employment the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show. This includes a record number of women in full-time work and the lowest ever unemployment rate for Wales. The latest figures are estimates for the last quarter: October to December 2019.

Increasingly Competitive Job Market

The UK employment rate for the last quarter is estimated at a record high of 76.3%. This is 0.6% higher than a year earlier and 0.5% higher than the previous quarter. A record 32.9 million people are in employment in the UK, including 126,000 more women compared with the previous quarter. The increase in female full-time employment is in part due to the change in women’s retirement age. The job market is increasingly competitive; there were an estimated 805,000 vacancies in the last quarter, which is 11,000 fewer than the previous quarter and 49,000 fewer than a year earlier. The number of vacancies in the UK fell sharply during the recession of 2008-2009. Since 2012, it has generally increased; although it has been falling since early 2019. The annual growth in average weekly earnings remained unchanged at 3.2% for total pay (including bonuses).

Record Low Unemployment

The UK unemployment rate has generally been falling for the last six years. Last quarter is estimated at 3.8%, 0.2 percentage points lower than a year earlier but largely unchanged on the previous quarter. Unemployment in Wales has hit a record low of 3%, falling more here than any other part of the UK. Economic inactivity (people without a job but who are not classed as unemployed) is also at a record low of 20.6%, down 0.4 percentage points on the year, this fall was also driven by women.