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Unemployment rate falls to 4%

12th September 2018

The rate of unemployment in the UK fell to 4% from May to July 2018, to its lowest level since the mid-1970s.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of unemployed people in the UK fell to 1.36 million - 95,000 fewer than a year earlier and the lowest rate since December 1974 to February 1975.

Meanwhile, the rate of employment fell slightly by 0.1%, but remained high at 75.5%.

The figures also showed there were 833,000 job vacancies in June to August 2018. This was 44,000 more than the same time in 2017, and the highest level since 2001.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the number of vacancies was at an "alarmingly high level", and that it was "further evidence of persistent skills shortages".

The Institute of Directors (IoD) also commented on the "heated competition" businesses are facing to recruit for the right skills.

Tej Parikh, senior economist at the IoD, said:

"In these circumstances, we would normally expect significant increases to salaries as firms attempt to attract the talent they need, but high costs and subdued productivity growth have impeded this.

"With the Autumn Budget on the horizon, the chancellor must look to provide support for business costs while incentivising investment."

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