UK experiences a new jobs boom

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show job growth in Britain was at its strongest for almost a year. The figures for the preceding three months up to November 2019 show the number of employed people in the UK was 32.9 million, a record 76.3% of the population. This increase of 208,000 is the largest since the three months up to January 2019.

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Employment levels

This strong growth reflects an especially poor period in the three months up to August 2019, which actually had a fall in job numbers. The Bank of England (BoE) has been giving some weight to these figures in order to assist in assessing the performance of the economy so it could impact on their decision regarding interest rates. The latest ONS statistics were more positive than predicted, with some expecting only an increase of 100,000 people being employed.

The figures show there are 1.31 million people not in work, which is a reduction of 7,000. The unemployment levels of 3.8% are their lowest since 1975.

Interestingly, the record employment rate includes over two thirds of growth in people at work consisting of women working full time, as discussed in this article from the BBC. This could be connected to the enhanced childcare on offer from the government and increase in flexible working practices.

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There has also been an increase in the number of self employed people. There are now more than five million people working for themselves, which is a record high. This sort of shift in working practices could be partially attributed to technology making previously time consuming elements much quicker and easier. For example, converting PDF to Excel can now be done almost instantaneously using This kind of administrative technology can also assist businesses both small and large.

General Election and Brexit

Since the data was collected there was the British General Election, which was decidedly won by Boris Johnson. After the election there has been some evidence of an increase in confidence from businesses and consumers.

According to the ONS figures, the British economy grew slower in the year up until November than for over seven years previously. Uncertainty of some level is predicted to continue this year with the Brexit transition leaving many question marks regarding trade deals and other issues.

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