• In the three months to March 2014, the unemployment rate was 6.8%, down from 7.2% in the previous quarter
  • In the three months to March 2014, unemployment was 133,000 lower than in the previous quarter, while employment was 283,000 higher
  • In the three months to March 2014, the youth unemployment rate was 19%, down 1.0% from the previous quarter
  • The claimant count fell 25,100 between March and April 2014
  • In the first quarter of 2014, total pay including bonuses was 1.7% higher than a year earlier, while pay excluding bonuses was 1.3% higher

Commenting on the labour market statistics for May 2014, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The UK labour market is continuing to strengthen, with unemployment falling and employment rising. The figures continue to demonstrate the flexibility and resilience of the jobs market, which is a source of strength for the economy. It is also good news that we are now seeing positive increases in earnings, easing the squeeze on living standards. Although there are still some concerns, with youth and long term unemployment particularly high, the recovery is clearly moving ahead.

“To consolidate the upturn, we need to see rises in productivity, which would make it possible for higher pay rises to be affordable. In addition, we need to see tougher action on youth and long term unemployment. While the improvement does not justify immediate action on interest rates, we expect the MPC to provide greater clarity in this area.