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Our reports on the ONS Labour Market Statistics in recent months have charted a regular pattern. The topline figures continue to improve, but there are underlying causes for concern about those in the most difficult situations.

This month is a little different. The upsides are there:

  • The employment rate is up to 71.7 per cent, and the headcount of those in work has risen by 155,000 to 29.87 million people, another record.
  • The unemployment rate is down 0.1 per centage points to 7.7 per cent. The unemployed headcount fell by 18,000 to 2.49 million people.
  • The economic inactivity rate also fell on both measures, down  to 22.2 per cent, a fall of 83,000 to 8.95 million people.

But there are also some signs that youth unemployment and long-term unemployment are starting to fall, a positive departure from the trend.

The headline number of young people who are unemployed stayed essentially the same – a 0.1 per cent rise in the rate is attributed by the ONS to a skew in the calculations caused by more people going into full time education. Stripping out those in full time education, though, shows a quarterly fall of 7,000 – a welcome improvement but only a start in reducing the harm done at the start of what should be their working lives.

The number of those who have been unemployed for more than a year, a measure which has seen a fall of 15,000 on the previous quarter.

The improvement on the tougher-to-shift measures are welcome news, but there is much further still to go.

8 comments for: New employment statistics start to show slight improvements for the young and the long-term unemployed

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