Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne took centre stage in the House of Commons yesterday, buoyed by strong new jobs numbers.
Standing in for the first time in place of Prime Minister David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Osborne welcomed the support of Tory backbenchers citing the latest labour market statistics and singing the praises of the Conservative government’s “long term economic plan.”
“Unemployment is down again in our country, employment is up, and long-term unemployment is down,” Osborne said. “For the first time, wages are growing faster than since the great recession. That shows that our economic plan is working.”
Wages are now growing at a rate of 2.7 per cent, the fastest rate on record since August 2001, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures out yesterday. Wage growth far outpaced market expectations of 2.5 per cent and is outpacing inflation, which currently stands at 0.1 per cent.
The ONS also reported that the UK unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 per cent, with 31m people in work between February and April, an increase of 114,000 on the three months to January. One year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 6.6 per cent.
Of the 31m people in work, 22.74m were working full-time, up 362,000 on last year, while 8.31m people were working part-time.
The unemployment rate among 16-to-24-year-olds, or so-called youth unemployment rate, was also down, at 16.1 per cent versus 16.2 per cent in the three months to January.
Employment minister Priti Patel also praised the figures, saying they “confirm that our long-term economic plan is already starting to deliver a better, more prosperous future for the whole of the country, with wages rising, more people finding jobs and more women in work than ever before.”
The pound jumped 0.54 per cent against the dollar to $1.5715 on the news.
City A.M. Jobs - Looking for a new career? Search over 15,000 jobs with salaries over £50k.