During the first quarter of 2014 the number of people gaining employment hit a 43 year old high with the unemployment rate hitting the lowest rate since 2009. These numbers have just been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and show that 283,000 found a job driven by those becoming self employed (up to 4.5 million). 30.4 million people are in work and is the highest since 1971. As a consequence the UK unemployment rate has dropped to 2.21 million down 122,000 to a national rate of 6.8%. The unemployment rate shows large regional variations with the NE having the highest rate at 10.1% down to a rate of 4.9% in the SW. Esther McVey (Minister for Employment) said “as the recovery takes hold more people are able to get a job, or set up their own business and become the employers of tomorrow”.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves intimated that although these are welcome figures the young people and long term unemployed are being left further behind.
However on the downside earnings are lagging behind expectations with a 1.7% increase to March 2014 and a CPI inflation rate of 1.6%. GMB general secretary Paul Kenny stated that people were yet to feel the effects of the recovery. He went on to say that “GMB members welcome the continuing recovery but recognise that there is a very long way to go to climb out of the hole caused by the recession”.