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The number of people out of work and looking for a job has risen for a third month in a row, official figures show.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that there were 1.82 million unemployed people seeking and available for work in May to July 2015.



This is 10,000 more than for the previous quarter but 198,000 fewer than for a year earlier, with the current ‘unemployment rate’ remaining unchanged at 5.5%.

However, the figures also show a small improvement in the number of people in work – up 42,000 to 31.09 million.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) says this is wholly due to an increase in part-time self employment and described the rise in unemployment as “worrying”.

According to ONS figures, there were 8.99 million ‘economically inactive’ people (not working and not seeking or available to work) of working age in May to July 2015.

This represents a fall of 24,000 on the previous quarter and 65,000 fewer than for a year earlier. But the inactivity rate remains stubbornly high at 22.1%, or more than two in ten people of working age in Britain.

For August 2015 there were 791,700 people claiming either Jobseeker’s Allowance or the out of work element of Universal Credit – up 1,200 from July 2015. Of those, 514,600 were men and 277,100 were women.

Wages have increased by 2.9% in the last year. However, this includes both regular pay and bonuses.

Main points for May to July 2015 (source: ONS):



  • There were 31.09 million people in work, 42,000 more than for February to April 2015 and 413,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • There were 22.74 million people working full-time, 361,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.36 million people working part-time, 52,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 73.5%, little changed compared with February to April 2015 but higher than for a year earlier (72.8%).
  • There were 1.82 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 10,000 more than for February to April 2015 but 198,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 5.5%, unchanged compared with February to April 2015 but lower than for a year earlier (6.2%). The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force (those in work plus those unemployed) who were unemployed.
  • There were 8.99 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 24,000 fewer than for February to April 2015 and 65,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 22.1%, little changed compared with February to April 2015 but down slightly from a year earlier (22.3%).
  • Comparing May to July 2015 with a year earlier, both total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain increased by 2.9%.

Commenting on the latest ONS figures, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“While it’s too soon to say that the labour market is weakening significantly, poor employment and unemployment results for the third month running are worrying.

“The rise in employment on the quarter is accounted for entirely by a rise in self-employed people working part-time.

“It is welcome that private sector earnings continue to rise, but there is still a long way to go to make up lost ground and the public sector is even further behind.

“We need a stronger and fairer recovery that works for everyone – with more investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation to help better job creation and sustainable pay growth.”