UK unemployment dips but wages hit by inflation
Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen further to a near five-decade low, official data showed yesterday, but the value of wages continues to erode as inflation soars.
The unemployment rate eased to 3.7 percent in the three months to the end of March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
That was the lowest level in more than 47 years and compared with a rate of 3.8 percent in the quarter to the end of February.
The ONS added that wages continued to sink in real terms as Britain, like other countries, faces runaway inflation.
“There continued to be a mixed picture for the labour market,” said Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics.
Total employment remained below its pre-pandemic level, with job vacancies at a record-high of almost 1.3 million at the end of April.
“Indeed, with the latest fall in unemployment to its lowest rate since 1974, there were actually fewer unemployed people than job vacancies for the first time since records began,” Morgan said.
While companies struggle to fill posts after the pandemic caused people to change careers, Morgan noted that since the outbreak of Covid, about half a million more people in the UK “have completely disengaged from the labour market”.
For those in work, regular earnings excluding bonuses were “falling sharpy in real terms”, he added.