UK unemployment falls by 82,000

Unemployment in Britain fell by 82,000 between August and October of this year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), marking the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment in the country in over a decade. The total number of people unemployed by the end of October was 2.51m. The ONS has also said that the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the UK fell 3,000 to 1.58m in November.

It is thought that growth in private sector employment is responsible for this increase in jobs across the country. Whilst the public sector has shrunk by 24,000 to 5.7m the ONS said there were now more private sector jobs in the economy than ever before. Despite signs that the economy started to weaken in the autumn after its strong summer expansion, employment rose to a record level of just over 29.6m following a 40,000 quarterly rise.

The strength of the labour market over this year has surprised City analysts who had been expecting it it to be tougher for those out of work to find employment.  Vicky Redwood, UK analyst at Capital Economics, said: “The latest UK labour market figures contain further signs that jobs growth is slowing. Although the LFS measure of employment rose by 40,000 in the three months to October, this was the smallest increase since the start of the year.” James Knightley, economist at ING, said: “The fact that UK employment is rising, consumer confidence is up and anecdotal evidence of retail sales haven’t been too bad, offers some hope that the domestic situation in the UK is stabilising.”

The number of unemployed people also fell significantly in Scotland, bringing the country’s unemployment rate below that of the UK. With unemployment dropping by 19,000, there were 204,000 Scots out of work by the end of October which translates to 7.6% of the economically active Scottish population (compared to a 7.8% of the economically active population for the whole of the UK). In November 2012, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 139,500 in Scotland.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said that the news was good, but emphasised that it was important not to become complacent about unemployment. He said, “in tough economics times I welcome the news that unemployment fell in Scotland over the last three months and 3,100 people fewer people claim Job Seekers Allowance compared to one year ago. We are not complacent and this is why we set out a package of measures in the Autumn Statement last week to protect the economy, support growth and ensure fairness while maintaining the crucial fiscal strategy.”

Sources include: The Guardian, The Scotsman, BBC News

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