Unemployment figures: a remarkable recovery in the employment
– The UK unemployment has reached a four-decade low 3%, which represents about 1.45 million people in the UK. This figure can be split between a 4.4% for women and 4.2% for men.
– The remarkable recovery in the employment rate (75.6%) since 2012 has pushed it to a record high, though employment growth has slowed in recent months.
– The youth unemployment (16-24) is at 9%, that is to say that 520,000 young people are unemployed.
Financial figures: a rise in wage but still a substantial debt
– UK wages rose at the fastest pace in nearly two-and-a-half years in the three months to January, with a growth of 2.4%. However, real pay, after accounting for inflation, is 2% lower than a year earlier.
– The minimum wage is at an hourly rate of £7.83 for the 25+.
– UK’s inflation rate drops back at 3%, but the ONS said it was too early to say whether this was the start of a longer-term reduction in the rate of inflation.
– UK Government debt amounted to £1.78 trillion, or 58% of total GDP. By comparison, the Italian debt is about 132% of their GDP, and the German one is at68% of their GDP.
– Finally, the UK commercial balance was at -1.9% of the GDP (which means that imports are exceeded exports, making this balance in deficit).
The UK’s labour market structure: dominance of qualified and full-time job
– Despite rises in self-employment (14.1% in 2016), full-time employee jobs still dominate the UK workforce (64% of the UK workforce)
– Despite some perceptions, low-skill occupations have not increased any faster than overall employment. However, there has been a very large increase in the percentage of workers who are university graduates: 35% of workers now have completed an undergraduate degree, up from 25% in 2008.
– Measures of ‘under-employment’ have been falling but remain above pre-recession levels. The proportion of part-time workers wanting to work full-time is still higher than in 2008, at 15% of part-time workers compared with 10% in 2008.
Zero-Hour contract: a British distinctive characteristic
These are employment contracts with no guaranteed hours and therefore no guaranteed pay. Some zero-hours contracts require workers to take any shifts they are offered – no matter how late notice.
These types of contracts are particularly popular in the catering and retail industries where the required staffing levels vary at different times of year, and on occasion at short notice. Workers on zero-hour contracts often get no sick pay, although holiday pay should be included due to working time regulations.
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