- In the three months to December 2013, the unemployment rate was 7.2%, down from 7.6% three months earlier, but marginally higher than the 7.1% published last month
- In the three months to December 2013, unemployment fell by 125,000 and employment rose by 193,000
- Youth unemployment fell by 48,000 to 917,000
- The claimant count in January 2014 fell by 27,600 compared with December 2013
Commenting on the labour market statistics for February 2014, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“These figures show that we have a strong and flexible labour market in the UK, with unemployment falling and employment rising. However, there are signs that the pace of improvement in the jobs market is slowing down. Although youth unemployment has fallen, the jobless level among 16-24 years olds still stands at 917,000, which is far too high. Many people are also still working part-time, as they are unable to gain full-time employment.
“The marginal increase in average earnings growth shows that the gap between inflation and wages in narrowing. But amid the clamour for wage increases, it is important to remember that this must be accompanied by a significant boost in productivity. The recovery is still fragile, and to place it on a sound footing the Chancellor should use next month’s Budget to introduce further measures to boost growth and ensure that it is not choked off.”