UK Employment Hits Record High

The British jobless rate hit 3.9 per cent in the three months to the end of January the lowest level since 1975 the Office for National Statistics said

In the United Kingdom record numbers of people are in work, while the jobless rate has fallen below four per cent for the first time since 1975.

According to the ONS, the average weekly earnings were up by 3.4 percent in the three-month period as compared to the same time during the previous year.

It means the unemployment rate is now at 3.9%, the first time it has gone below 4% since January 1975.

British employers ramped up their hiring at the fastest pace since 2015 in the three months to January as the labour market defied broader Brexit weakness in the overall economy.

In contrast, the current average unemployment rate in the European Union is 6.5%.

Job vacancies have increased by 4,000 to 854,000.

The ONS said the employment rate had hit a new record high of 76.1% while the level of economic inactivity - covering people who are neither seeking work nor available for it - hit a record low. This was the largest increase in the number of employed women since the period February-to-April 2014. United Kingdom unemployment has dropped to the lowest level in more than 44 years despite mounting fears over Brexit, as employers across the country ramped up hiring at the fastest rate in more than three years.

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"These record-breaking jobs numbers seem extraordinary and suggest that only a recession-inducing hard Brexit is likely to have a noticeably negative impact on the UK's employment situation".

'Our jobs market remains resilient as we see more people than ever before benefiting from earning a wage. "By backing the government's Brexit deal and giving certainty to business, MPs have the chance to safeguard this jobs track record".

"There is continued strength in the labour market but we all know that it is a lagging indicator and we shouldn't get too carried away", Commerzbank economist Peter Dixon said. It is also a mix that could push up inflation.

The Bank of England has said it will need to raise interest rates gradually to offset inflation pressures from rising pay, but is expected to keep interest rates on hold at its next policy announcement on Thursday due to Brexit uncertainty.

Tej Parikh, senior economist at the Institute of Directors, said: "Businesses have been steadfast in bringing on board new staff and in creating vacancies, despite question marks over the future path of the economy".

He added: "But with uncertainty around Brexit reaching a crescendo, firms are becoming more and more cagey over their hiring decisions".

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