Positive signs in latest employment figures

Posted on 20 Apr 2017 and read 733 times
Positive signs in latest employment figuresThe latest data from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people in work increased by 39,000 in the three months to February 2017 to 31.84 million, with the increase in full-time employment of 146,000 partly offset by a 107,000 fall in part-time jobs.

Furthermore, a record-high employment rate of 74.6% and unemployment “at a generational low” of 4.7% — the lowest it has been since the three-month period ending August 1975 — has resulted in a strong demand for labour translating into a shift from part-time to full-time employment — and an increase in the average hours worked per week by both full-time and part-time employees.

Following the financial crisis, the addition of part-time jobs at the expense of full-time jobs drove the part-time share of employment to a record high of 27.6% in mid-2012. Recent data suggests that this pattern could be starting to unwind.

In the three months to February 2017, the part-time share of employment declined to 26.5%, the lowest since August to October 2009, but still above its pre-crisis average of 25.5%.

Average hours worked per week increased from 32.0 to 32.4 in the three months to February 2017, the highest since July to September 2002, largely due to more hours being worked over the Christmas and New Year period than in
recent years.

There was an increase in the average hours worked by both full-time and part-time employees.

The number of vacancies — another indicator of strength in the labour market — increased by 16,000 to 767,000 in the three months to March 2017, the highest number on record.

Similarly, the number of unemployed people per vacancy declined to 2.0 in the three months to February 2017, the lowest number on record.

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