UK employment: Number of people in work rises by 73,000 to 29.7 million between June and July

The number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 73,000 between June and July to 29.7 million, the Office for National Statistics said

Published Last updated

The news could be seen as a rare positive for the UK economy during a cost-of-living crisis, with unemployment lower than at almost any point for 40 years.

But the "real value of pay continues to fall" as workers saw wages lag behind inflation at record levels over the past quarter, according to official figures.

Regular pay, excluding bonuses, grew by 4.7 percent over the three months to June after analysts had predicted an increase of 4.5 percent.

But CPI inflation hit a new 40-year record of 9.4 percent in June and is expected to peak at around 11 percent later this year.

Unemployment is at its lowest rate than at almost any point for 40 years
Unemployment is at its lowest rate than at almost any point for 40 years
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi says the jobs market is in a 'strong position'
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi says the jobs market is in a 'strong position'

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “The number of people in work grew in the second quarter of 2022, whilst the headline rates of unemployment and of people neither working nor looking for a job were little changed.

“Meanwhile, the total number of hours worked each week appears to have stabilised very slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

“The real value of pay continues to fall.

“Excluding bonuses, it is still dropping faster than at any time since comparable records began in 2001.”

Despite the gloomy picture, the Department for Work and Pensions stressed that being employed remains "one of the best ways for people to get on".

DWP minister Julie Marson said: “Today’s figures show that the jobs market remains resilient with more people on payrolls and unemployment remaining at a near record low, despite the challenging economic circumstances we face.

“We recognise people are struggling with rising prices and our work coaches stand ready to provide practical help for people to increase their earnings even after they’ve secured a job.

“Being in stable employment is one of the best ways for people to get on, but we’re also providing £1,200 direct payments for millions of low income households as part of our £37bn package of support to help with the cost of living.”

In response to the latest labour market figures from the ONS, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said: “Today’s stats demonstrate that the jobs market is in a strong position, with unemployment lower than at almost any point in the past 40 years – good news in what I know are difficult times for people.

“This highlights the resilience of the UK economy and the fantastic businesses who are creating new jobs across the country.”