The latest set of figures from the Office of National Statistics reveals that UK unemployment total has increased for the first time in two years, whilst pay packages are also on the rise.
The number of people increased by 15,000 to 1.85 million in the March to May period, with the jobless rate at 5.6 per cent the ONS said.
In the same three month period, the average weekly earnings including bonuses rose at the fastest rate in five years, at an annual pace of 3.2 per cent. Pay excluding bonuses increased by 2.8 per cent, the highest rate since 2009.
The figures also showed the there were 30.98 million people in work in the quarter, down 67,000 from the previous three month period and the first quarterly fall since 2013.
The South West of the country had the highest employment rate at 77.4 per cent, with the lowest number in employment in Northern Ireland at 67.9 per cent
However compared to the same period from 2014, the number of people in work was up 265,000 with 272,000 more people working full time and 7,000 fewer people working part time.
Statistician for the ONS, Nick Palmer said of the latest figures: “It’s possible that the rate of improvement in the labour market that we have seen over the last three years may have eased off, though it is too early to be certain.”
The UK’s Work and Pensions Minister, Priti Patel, told the BBC that despite the rise in the jobless total, there were jobs out there.
“When you look at the strength of the UK labour market – through the reforms we brought in in the last parliament and now as well we’re continuing to implement – we are seeing a lot of growth in the economy, and at the same time, wages are increasing, but vacancies are still at over 700,000, so there are jobs out there in the labour market and vacancies are there,” Patel said.
The unemployment figures are based on the Labour Force Survey, in which the ONS speaks to 60,000 households once a quarter, making it the country’s biggest household survey.