New employment figures continue to show economic growth

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics highlight continuing improvements in the UK economy. The report, titled Labour Market Statistics, May 2014, shows that in the period of January to March 2014:

  • Overall unemployment continued to fall.
  • 72.7% of people aged 16-64 were in work for January-March, an increase from 71.4% a year earlier.
  • The number of economically inactive people (not available to work or seeking employment) aged 16-64 was 8.85 million, a decrease of 155,000 from the same period a year earlier.
  • Including bonuses, wages were 1.7% higher than the period a year before.
  • The unemployment rate is 6.8%, compared to 11.8% in the euro region.

The figures continue an encouraging trend that UK employment is on an upwards trajectory, with the number of people out of work falling by 133,000 to a total of 2.2 million - a five-year low. The number of jobless claims also fell for the 18th consecutive time, and at 3.3% is at the lowest since 2008.

Total employment is now at 30.43 million, which is the highest since records began in 1971.

Although the data do not suggest that we are close to being near the pre-recession levels just yet, there was positive news surrounding living standards. For the first time since 2010, average earnings rose 1.7% when bonuses were included, while inflation rose at 1.6%.

The Liberal Democrats have a graph on their website to illustrate the current employment rate compared to previous years.

Although these figures are encouraging, it's also important to maintain a realistic perspective and remember that they do not immediately translate into vastly relieved bank accounts. For people who have recently found work for the first time, or the first time for a while, there may be debts to clear before money can be put aside for saving.

However, it is at these early stages of economic recovery and personal improvements in financial standing that people need to be reminded of the importance of saving, especially for retirement - which is all too often neglected. Many of the new employees entering full-time work will be part of the new auto-enrolment workplace pension scheme, but for those that won't be - especially the self-employed and part-time workers - it's down to the individual to formulate a plan for retirement. Although it may not seem feasible or even worth it at the beginning stages of working life, the earlier saving begins the more interest will accrue, so even small amounts put aside each month will be of benefit when retirement approaches.

Don't be part of the pensions time bomb - impartial advice can help you take control of your retirement.

Call 0800 304 7288 for a friendly chat about your pension

The details provided in this article are for general information only and are in no way deemed to be financial advice. All of the material is correct as of the publication date, but could be out-of-date by the time you read the article. For our latest information and news, please see our articles section:

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