UK's unemployment rate rises by 6,000

The number of unemployed people rose by 6,000 and people in employment fell by 29,000 over the last quarter, according to an Office of National Statistics (ONS) study published today.

This month's labour market statistics found that while the number of people unemployed is up slightly, the overall unemployment rate remained at 4.8%, unchanged on the previous quarter.

The unemployment level was 1.43 million in the three months to May 2004, up 6,000 from the three months to February 2004, but down 52,000 on a year earlier.

The number of people in employment is down 0.2 percentage points to 74.7%, but there are more job vacancies than a year ago, according to the ONS. The employment level was 28.3 million in the three months to May 2004, down 29,000 from the three months to February 2004, but up 206,000 on a year earlier.

The number of vacancies, not seasonally adjusted, stood at 643,400 up 60,500 from a year ago.

There was also another fall in claimants of the Jobseeker's' Allowance. The claimant count was 850,900, a fall of 9,600 over the previous month.

Minister for Work, Jane Kennedy, said that today's figures confirmed the findings of a Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey which indicated that the UK's was top of the international employment league.

Ms Kennedy said: "The number of people in work in the UK is rising, up two hundred thousand in the last twelve months alone. With nearly 75% of the working age population in work we have the best employment record of the major world economies.

"Because of our success in helping people into work, unemployment is the lowest for nearly 30 years and continues to fall. We have the second lowest unemployment of the major economies, after Japan."

The UK's economic position has been built around a strong economy and a flexible labour market, which has delivered one of the lowest levels of temporary work in the industrialised world, the minister said.

Elsewhere, a Confederation of British Industry survey has found that UK companies are more optimistic than at any time since 1996 and output and employment prospects are at their highest since 2000

According to the twice-yearly study, from the CBI and property advisers GVA Grimley, there has been a "huge upswing" in business optimism.

Fifty-one per cent of companies said they were more optimistic in terms of their business than six months ago while only 9% said they were less. The balance of plus 42% is a substantial increase on the 2% in the previous survey.

Employment was broadly stable over the last six months, but a balance of plus 17% suggests the next six months will see staff taken on at the fastest rate recorded by the survey since November 2000.

Doug Godden, CBI Head of Economic Analysis, said the increase in production and expected pick-up in employment confirmed that the UK's economic recovery was "firmly entrenched".


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 October 2004
Employment rate sees quarterly rise
The number of people in employment has increased by 10,000 over the last quarter and the jobless rate has fallen again, according to labour market statistics published this month. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) study found there were 28.39 million people in employment in the three months to August 2004, up 221,000 on a year earlier.
12 November 2014
Employment At Record High - ONS
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that unemployment in the UK fell by 115,000 between July and September, the 18th consecutive month the figure has come down. Total unemployment now stands at 1.96 million.
15 October 2014
Sturgeon To Become Scotland's First Female First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon is to become the new leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland, after her bid for both roles went unchallenged. Ms Sturgeon will assume her new positions from next month, becoming Scotland's first ever female first minister, pending the approval of parliament.
03 March 2014
UK Manufacturing Increased Last Month
The rate of manufacturing in the UK grew faster than expected in the month of February, new statistics have revealed. According to the Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), employment within the sector is now expanding at its fastest rate in almost three years. Last month, the Index reached 56.9, up from 56.
07 January 2011
Record Cold December
Provisional figures from the Met Office issued reveal that December 2010 has become the coldest December across the UK since the national series began in 1910. The mean temperature for the UK has been -1.0 °C, well below the long term average of 4.2 °C. The previous coldest December in the series was 0.1 °C, in 1981.