Two months ago, after we saw a big jump in unemployment in the numbers published in April, I suggested that it should stabilised or fall in a couple of months’ time, when a big jump over the winter dropped out of the figures. So it has done.
Unemployment fell by 5,000 to 2.51m, 7.8% of the workforce, in the February-April period, while employment rose by 24,000 to 29.76 million, 71.5% of the workforce. So the job market has stabilised/improved, though the figures could have been better. The claimant count dropped 8,600 to 1.51 million in May.
Something interesting may be happening on pay. The February-April picture remained subdued, up 1.3% on a year earlier for total pay, 0.9% for regular pay. But for April alone total pay was up 3.3% on a year earlier, or 4.2% in the private sector. That may suggest some significant shifting of pay/bonus payments into the new tax year to avoid the 50% tax rate, and could help the public finances. More here.
This piece is cross-posted from David Smith’s Economics UK with permission.