UK Unemployment Rises Amidst Weakening Jobs Market

The UK saw a rise of 138,000 unemployed individuals in the three months leading up to April, indicating a downturn in the job market, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This increase in jobless rates marks the fourth consecutive rise, bringing the unemployment rate to 4.4%, the highest level since September 2021.

Furthermore, employment rates and job vacancies also witnessed a decline in the latest labour market data released before the upcoming general election. The number of individuals unable to work due to long-term ill health reached a new high of 2.83 million, reflecting a 55,000 increase.

Despite a nearly 10% hike in the national minimum wage impacting over 3 million workers, there are indications that wage growth may have hit its peak. The annual growth in average earnings remained steady at 5.9% for all workers in the three months leading to April, with a slight decline in the private sector from 6.1% to 5.8%.

Earnings for April showed a 5.5% increase compared to the same period in 2023, a slight dip from the 6.4% growth seen in the year up to March. In real terms, wages are outpacing the annual inflation rate of 2.3% in April, leading to an increase in overall pay rates.