Is Unemployment Improving in the UK?

Economic graphs and hands of three people analysing them.The health of the British economy and the level of unemployment are topics we are confronted with at every turn. Almost every news bulletin contains a story about employment figures, the deficit, the growth or retraction of the economy and so on. As if that is not enough, it becomes even more confusing once the politicians have their say, and after watching a weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, you feel really reluctant to believe anyone.

The Oracle

Fortunately, there are statistics out there, researched by independent organisations that we can fall back on to make sense of all the mixed messages. Every three months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes statistics detailing employment figures and the amount of claimants seeking Jobseeker’s Allowance to name a few. The last figures they published for the three month period up to November 2012 show that unemployment in the UK is indeed improving.

Number crunching

Between August and November 2012 unemployment fell by 82,000 to 2.51 million. That puts the unemployment rate at 7.8%, down by 0.2%. As with any statistics it is important to understand the parameters of the findings and in this case, it needs to be noted that a person is only considered unemployed if they are out of work, actively seeking employment and able to start a new job within a two week period. The amount of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has also fallen and was down by 3000 claims in November 2012. The employment rate now stands at 71.2% with 29.6 million people employed. Jobs in the public sector continue to fall, so all the gains seen are from increased employment opportunities in the private sector.

The good news

These figures leave little doubt that unemployment is falling and that the state of the economy is not all doom and gloom. While the government’s austerity measures are set to continue, economic recovery appears to be slow and the politicians will no doubt use the figures to best benefit their cause, the simple fact is that there are more people in the UK looking for jobs and actually finding them.

PIC: Pressmaster – Fotolia