In the three months to February 2014:

  • the unemployment rate was 6.9%, down from 7.1% in the previous three months
  • unemployment was 77,000 lower than in the previous three months, and employment was 239,000 higher
  • pay (including bonuses) was 1.7% higher than a year earlier, marginally higher than the 1.6% annual inflation in March
  • youth unemployment fell by 38,000

The claimant count in March 2014 was down 30,400 compared with February

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

“The labour market is continuing to strengthen, with employment up, unemployment down, and the number of inactive people falling. This demonstrates that the resilience and flexibility of the UK labour market is a source of strength for our economy. In addition, we are moving into an area where real wages are outpacing inflation, easing the squeeze on living standards.

“Concerns do persist, however. The youth unemployment rate is still much too high at 19.1%, and while long term unemployment is falling, more than 800,000 people have been unemployed for more than a year.

“These concerns aside, it is clear that the recovery is on the right track. To consolidate this, it is important that we see measures to increase productivity and firmer action on youth and long-term unemployment. Improved access to finance, incentives to recruit apprentices, and support for export and investment will go some way to achieving this.”