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Employment figures reveal surprise slowdown in UK jobs market

By Charlotte Ricca

Number in work falls by 56,000, as cooling off confounds forecasts

The UK labour market has “cooled noticeably”, with an unexpected drop in the number of people in work, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says the employment rate fell by 56,000, to 32.69 million from June to August – way below economists' forecasts, which predicted employment would grow by 23,000.

ONS statistician Matt Hughes confirmed the UK labour market showed signs of slowing down in the three months preceding August 2019.

"The employment rate is still rising year-on-year, but this growth has cooled noticeably in recent months," said Hughes. "Among the under-25s, the employment rate has actually started to fall on the year."

The ONS reported unemployment increased by 22,000 to 1.31 million. This takes UK unemployment to 3.9 per cent, lower than a year earlier (4.I per cent), but up 0.1 per cent on the last quarter.

Pay growth has also turned downwards. This rate has been rising, and from March to May 2017 was almost 4per cent, the highest nominal growth rate since 2008. However, in June to August 2019, growth dropped slightly to 3.8 per cent for both total earnings (including bonuses), and regular pay (excluding bonuses).

UK unemployment rate is still close to its lowest level for 44 years.

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