Walker welcomes continued fall in local unemployment as living wage contributes to decline of low pay

Local MP Robin Walker has welcomed the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that unemployment in Worcester has fallen for the fifth consecutive month, and remains below 1,000.

At 1.5% or 975, the city’s unemployment rate remains at near record lows. The number of out-of-work young people aged 18-24 has also fallen, now standing at 230 – 45 lower than at the same time last year.

Nationally there are now 32.10 million people in work, 317,000 more than last year. These figures have been driven by increases in full-time and permanent work, and in the last year there are 20,000 fewer people relying on zero hour contracts.

The female employment rate is also at a near record 70.7%, with over 15 million women in work.

Today’s employment figures also show:

  • there are a near record 783,000 vacancies in the economy at any one time
  • the number of people in employment has increased by over 3 million since 2010
  • the UK has the 3rd highest employment rate in the G7
  • the number of workers aged 50 and over has reached a record 9.97 million
  • youth unemployment has fallen by over 40% since 2010
  • the proportion of young people who are unemployed and not in full time education remains below 5%

The figures come days after a report from independent think-tank The Resolution Foundation found that more than 300,000 people had been given a pay boost in the past year thanks to the Government’s new National Living Wage.

The report said Britain had experienced its biggest fall in low-paid workers since the 1970s following the introduction of the national living wage (NLW), which imposes a floor of £7.50 an hour for employees aged 25 and over. The think-tank found that 5.1 million or 19% of workers were low-paid, down from 5.4 million, or just under 21%, last year, bringing the share of employees who are low-paid below one in five for the first time since the 1980s.

Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds said:

“Our economy is helping to create full time, permanent jobs which are giving people across the UK the chance of securing a reliable income.”

“We’ve boosted the income for people on the lowest pay by increasing the National Living Wage and delivered the fastest pay rise for the lowest earners in 20 years.”

“That’s great progress and we’re determined to help more people flourish in the world of work.”

“For example we’ve launched our new returnship programme to help more women get into good jobs after taking time out, and to keep their career progressing.”

Commenting on the latest figures, Robin said:

“It is really good to see the unemployment rate continuing to fall at both local and national level, especially given that the figures have been driven by increases in permanent and full-time work.”

“We’ve seen recently that 20,000 fewer people are reliant on zero-hour contracts this year, which is a sign of the shift to secure and stable employment that people want.”

“It is also great to see that the National Living Wage helped cut the number of workers on low pay by more than 300,000 last year and that the country witnessed the biggest year-on-year fall in low pay since 1977. In total, earnings for a full-time worker on the National Minimum Wage have increased by over £1,400 a year since the introduction of the National Living Wage.”

“Combined with measures to take millions of people out of tax altogether through the Personal Allowance, this demonstrates the Government’s commitment to helping people into secure and well-paid employment and ensuring that they can then keep more of what they earn.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For the latest employment statistics from the ONS, please see: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/wpca/1929380363/report.aspx#tabwab

For Robin’s previous statements on employment, please see:

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-continued-fall-in-unemployment-with-worcester-rate-61-lower-than-2010/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-uk-unemployment-rate-lowest-in-a-generation-as-worcester-figures-drop-again/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-best-employment-figures-for-42-years-unemployment-down-and-wages-up-in-worcester/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-record-wage-growth-for-worcester-workers-ahead-of-budget-2017/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/progress-must-continue-after-record-breaking-year-for-worcester-jobs/