UK full-time employment drops, job vacancies also decline Signs that Britain’s long employment boom has come to an end emerged yesterday as official figures showed a drop in the number of people in work, a fall in full-time employment and a decline in the number of job vacancies.

After a record-breaking run, the The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported the first fall in employment since the immediate aftermath of last year’s Brexit vote.

The ONS said the number of people employed had fallen by 14,000 in the three months to September to just over 32 million.

While the number of people in work was still up by 279,000 on a year ago, the ONS said it was the first fall since the slight reduction in the quarter ending in October 2016 and the biggest drop since the April to June period of 2015. The employment rate was cut from 75.1% to 75%.

Further evidence of a weaker labour market came from a fall in job vacancies, a 29,000 decline in the number of full-time jobs and an increase in the number of part-time workers saying that they would like to have full-time employment.

The number of people unemployed fell by 59,000 in the three months to September, bringing the total down to 1.425 million but leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.3%.

The ONS said both employment and unemployment were down due to a rise in the number of the economically inactive – people who have stopped looking for work.

Damian Hinds, the employment minister, said: “The strength of the economy is driving an increase in full-time, permanent jobs and a near-record number of people are now in work thanks to the government’s welfare reforms.

“When unemployment fell to 5% early last year, many people thought it couldn’t get much lower, and yet it now stands at 4.3%.”

But with growth in earnings lagging well behind the current inflation rate, the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said the government should raise the national minimum wage to £10 an hour as quickly as possible.

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About Kelvin Ching

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