United Kingdom Unemployment December 2019

United Kingdom

United Kingdom: Employment surges in October-December, but wage growth loses steam

February 18, 2020

The unemployment rate was stable at 3.8% in the October–December period, a multi-decade low. Moreover, employment soared by 180,000 quarter-on-quarter on more full-time jobs, while the number of vacancies rose in November-January. However, regular pay growth (excluding bonuses) continued to ebb from the peak reached in mid-2019. Despite slower pay growth though, the figures suggest the labor market is in strong health.

Regarding the labor market outlook, James Smith, an economist at ING, comments: “Virtually every business survey has pointed towards improved sentiment since December, including the latest KPMG/REC survey that highlighted a sharp rise in the number of job adverts, as well as a modest pick-up in placements. […] But there is a risk that activity in the jobs market remains partially constrained by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future UK-EU trade relations.”

Our panelists currently see the unemployment rate averaging 4.1% in 2020, unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 4.2% in 2021, while real disposable income is seen increasing 1.0% in 2020 and 0.9% in 2021.


Author:, Economist

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United Kingdom Unemployment Chart


United Kingdom Unemployment December 2019

Note: Three-month average of unemployment rate in %.
Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS).


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