Record High Employment Rates Since 1971

Labour Market Employment Report July 2016

For March to May 2016, 74.4% of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

The figure below shows the employment rates for both men and women aged from 16 to 64 since comparable records began in 1971. The lowest employment rate for people was 65.6% in 1983, during the economic downturn of the early 1980s. The employment rates  have been generally increasing since early 2012.

For the latest time period, March to May 2016, the employment rate for people reached a record high of 74.4%.

UK Employment rates (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

There were 1.65 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 54,000 fewer than for the 3 months to February 2016, 201,000 fewer than for a year earlier and the lowest since March to May 2008.


Public Sector

There were 5.35 million people employed in the public sector for March 2016. This was:

  • slightly more (6,000) than for December 2015
  • 21,000 fewer than for a year earlier

There have been 2 consecutive small quarterly increases in public sector employment. However, prior to these 2 small quarterly increases, the number of people employed in the public sector had been generally falling since March 2010.


Private Sector

There were 26.24 million people employed in the private sector for March 2016. This was 50,000 more than for December 2015 and 482,000 more than for a year earlier.

For March 2016, 16.9% of people in employment worked in the public sector, the lowest proportion since comparable records began in March 1999. The remaining 83.1% worked in the private sector.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb said:

  • These are another record-breaking set of figures, with more people in work than ever before and the unemployment rate is the lowest in a decade at 5.1%
  • More people in work means that more families across the UK are benefiting from the security of a regular wage and the fulfilment that employment brings
  • But the job is not done, which is why our welfare reforms, such as Universal Credit, are making sure that it always pays to be in work

Save