The UK employment rate hit its highest level since records began in 1971 during the 1st quarter of 2018 according to the ONS, with 75.6% of the working age population having a job. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, which was 40 basis points lower than the year earlier. However, this expansion in employment coupled with lower GDP growth means that labour productivity is falling.
The statistical release also showed that real weekly wages excluding bonuses had grown by 0.4% relative to the prior year.
Seamus Nevin from the Institute of Directors said, “Yet again we’ve seen great employment figures as the number of people in work increased and the number of people without work decreased. All of this suggests, however, that access to staff may be peaking as the labour market tightens. Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the people they need.”