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UK EMPLOYMENT HITS RECORD LEVEL OF 27.5 MILLION PEOPLE

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More people are in work now than ever before, with employment ...
More people are in work now than ever before, with employment

reaching a new record level of 27.5m.

More and more unemployed people are looking for work, finding work

and coming off benefit. Unemployment has fallen on both the ILO and

claimant count measures. Job vacancies notified to Jobcentres alone

increased by 7.8% in the last month to one of the highest monthly

figures in the last 20 years.

Employment minister Tessa Jowell said: 'This record number of people

in jobs clearly shows that the government's policies of moving people

from welfare into work and of making work pay are taking effect.

There are now 27.5m people in jobs, an increase of 110,000 on

the previous quarter and of 329,000 on last year.

'We now have low interest rates and low inflation. The key challenge

now is to continue to steer a course of stability and steady growth

and ensure there is no return to boom and bust.'

Today's figures show:

unemployment on the ILO measure has gone down by 39,000 over the

last quarter and by 86,000 on last year;

the rate of ILO unemployment has also gone down from 6.0% to 5.9%

over the last quarter;

the lowest rates of unemployment on both the ILO and claimant count

measures recorded for almost 20 years;

unemployment on the claimant count measure has gone down by 8,400

on last month, and by 119,300 on last year. The claimant count has

fallen in every region of the country;

the number of economically inactive people fell by 44,000 over the

quarter;

new vacancies notified to Jobcentres rose by 7,800 on last month

and now stands at 240,600. This is 3,800 higher than the same month

last year.

Tessa Jowell stressed: 'We must continue to strive for high and

stable levels of employment. More and more people are entering the

active labour force and the economy has generated a very high level

of vacancies.

'The policies which we have put in place, including the new deals,

are helping more people to take up these vacancies. We are creating

employment opportunity for all and the goal of full employment is

within reach. This is enterprise and fairness in action.'

Today's figures show that average earnings growth fell by 0.2% on

the last month to 4.7%. Tessa Jowell said: 'We have always stressed

the importance of wage responsibility across the public and private

sectors as part of our broader economic approach.'

BACKGROUND TO LABOUR MARKET STATISTICS: November 1999

Employment is up by over 300,000 on the year. Unemployment is

falling.

Employment continues to grow and the pace is increasing. LFS

employment is up by 329,000 in the year to July to September. New

vacancies, are at historically high levels.

Both ILO and claimant unemployment fell again, the trend is firmly

down although during the summer the monthly changes tend to be

somewhat erratic.

Annual earnings growth fell back a little to 4.7% in September, and

it remains below the levels reached in the middle of last year.

Employment is growing rapidly and vacancies are very high.

The pace of employment growth has increased with LFS employment in

the July to September quarter growing by 110,000 and up by 329,000 on

the year.

The picture of healthy job growth is supported by the latest

workforce jobs figures first published two months ago which showed

growth of 239,000 over the year to June. However, this series has

been erratic.

The number of new Jobcentre vacancies has also increased in recent

months. In September there were 240,600 - one of the highest monthly

figures in the last two decades.

There has been substantial employment growth across a wide range of

services sectors.

Unemployment is falling on both measures. Summer figures tend to be

erratic

ILO unemployment fell by 39,000 over the quarter and by 86,000 on

the year. The ILO unemployment rate of 5.9% is at its lowest level

since the early 1980s. The claimant count fell by 8,400 in September. The rate was 4.2%.

Unemployment, particularly claimant unemployment, tends to be

affected during the summer by changes in the numbers coming out of

education. However, the trend is firmly down with a six-monthly

average fall of 14,600.

Over the last year the employment rise of 329,000 was much larger

than the fall in ILO unemployment of 86,000 because the number of

economically active people grew by 243,000. More people who are long

term sick and, particularly, looking after home and family have been

drawn back into the labour force.

Earnings growth over the year was 4.7% in the three months to July to September the annual 'headline' rate of earnings growth was 4.7%, up from 4.7% in May to August, but down from 5.7% in mid 1998.

Skill shortages and recruitment difficulties have eased somewhat

recently. There are few signs of general labour shortages.

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