Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 1974

Earlier this week The ONS (Office of National Statistics) released their latest employment figures (May-July) and the UK’s unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since 1974. All regions saw a decrease in the unemployment rate with London having the largest decrease (1.8%).

The highest employment rate estimate in the UK was the East of England (78.6%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (69.6%). The largest increase in the employment rate compared to the same period last year was in Scotland and the West Midlands (both 1.1%) and the largest decrease was in Wales (2.4%). The report also showed that more people were in full-time employment or self-employed compared to earlier this year. 

Decrease in Temporary Employment

The number of temporary employees is down 0.7% in the UK with the total number approximately 1.64 million. Of this, 24% have temporary employment as they can’t find a permanent job, 28% don’t want a permanent job, 11% work a contract with a period of training and 37% listed “other”. The 614,135 people who chose “other” may include enjoying the flexibility that comes hand in hand with temp work or are trying to build experience in a new sector. Temporary contracts have usually been more prevalent amongst women and we can see this in the new report too, with women making up 55% of the total temporary employees.

Record Highs

Although the total number of part-time workers has decreased, we saw record highs of over-65s in part-time employment. It seems that the ageing population has been clearly impacted by the cost of living crisis and may have come out of retirement to save some extra money.

Hours Worked

Compared to the previous three-month period, total weekly hours worked decreased by 3.5 million hours to 1.04 billion hours in May-July. This is still 11.1 million hours below pre-pandemic levels. 


There was a 5.5% growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) and 5.2% growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses). However, taking inflation into account, total pay fell by 2.6% and regular pay 2.8%.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) said: “The disparity between the rise in inflation and salaries will only add to the skills struggles of the UK and won’t support economic growth on the scale that’s needed across the country”.

If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that the market is ever-changing and who knows what we might see in next month's report, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Book A Demo