The UK unemployment rate fell to 7.2% in the final quarter of 2013, with 125,000 people identified to have entered into some form of employment by official government data.
The Office for National Statistics data showed that unemployment dropped to 7.2%, which contradicts their announcement last month that unemployment fell to 7.1% in January.
However, their previous announcement was based on a month on month basis whilst their latest figures denote the unemployment rate in the three months to December over the latter stages of last year.
The number of working age people who are now estimated to be unemployed is 2.34 million, though the data suggests that the emphatic rate in which unemployment was falling in the final half of last year may be beginning to lose momentum.
Nick Palmer, senior labour market statistician at the ONS, said: “The main conclusion that should be drawn from these latest figures is that the rate at which unemployment has been falling is likely to have slowed down.”
Despite the underlying notion that the rate in which unemployment is falling is beginning to slow down, the ONS nevertheless had positive disclosures on the complexion of wages, female employment and number of benefit applicants in the latter stages of 2013.
According to their quarterly report, the number of women currently in work is higher than it ever has been, being officially estimated to be 14 million.
Moreover, there was positive news on the movement in worker wages, with the ONS disclosing that they were up by 1.1% from 2012.
However, this remains below the UK inflation rate, and will fuel the calls for the government to act and address the ësqueezeí on workerís wages that has been brought about from persistent years of this occurrence happening.
Youth struggle continues
The ONSís estimates for the condition of young workers however was far less positive, with it being displayed that the quantity of individuals currently falling into the ëeconomically inactiveí category has remained broadly the same, at around 0 million.
Youth unemployment did fall to a 3 year low, with around 900,000 working age young individuals estimated to be unemployed at present. However, many of those who entered into employment are thought to have done so on a part time basis, and with wages currently moving at a stagnant rate, problems remain in the financial conditions of young workers in the UK.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves called for the government to implement a series of programmes that will assist aspiring young workers get into employment, and argued that more work needs to be done in order to ensure that the unemployment rate in youth circles is brought down.
“While today’s fall in overall unemployment is welcome, the government must not be complacent,” she added.
“More than 900,000 young people are still unemployed and over 250,000 young people have been unemployed for over a year.”
However, Employment Minister Esther McVey has rejected that the ONSís statistics paint a negative picture of youth employment levels at the moment, contradictorily arguing that they clearly represented a success in the governmentís policies to get more people into work.
“Record numbers of women are in work and youth unemployment continues to fall, which means more people have the security of a regular wage and can plan for their future,” she said.