Employment rises to highest since 1971 - but UK wage growth continued to be subdued in December

Emma Haslett
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Employment rose - but wage growth was still markedly subdued during the period (Source: Getty)

Some 74.1 per cent of the UK population were in employment between October and December 2015 - the highest since records began, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

The figures, published this morning, showed there were 31.42m people in work during the period, over half a million more than the same time in 2014.

But wage growth excluding bonuses hit two per cent - marginally higher than the 1.8 per cent expected, but still muted.

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“While the employment rate continues to hit new highs and there are more job vacancies than ever previously recorded, earnings growth remains subdued and markedly below the recent peak of mid-2015,” said ONS statistician Nick Palmer.

An expected fall in unemployment also failed to take place in December, with the unemployment rate sticking at 5.1 per cent during the period, the same level as in the three months between September and November.

"UNemployment data... confirmed the economy has not improved much on the labour front," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade.

"A similar echo was on the average earning number front... If there is any element which is audible from this, it is this that the average earning number compared to previous year is feeble because it was prodigiously stout in 2015."

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