Unexpected Rise in Unemployment

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There was an unexpected rise in unemployment between the third and fourth quarters of 2017 according to latest official figures. However, upon closer inspection, it is not indicative of labour market weakness as it was accompanied by a rise in total employment, focused on full-time jobs. Rather, more economically inactive are seeking work and still being categorised as unemployed.  The unemployment rate for Oct-Dec 2017 stands at 4.4%, down by 0.4% points from a year earlier. This equates to 1.47 million people – the average the euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 8.7 % in December 2017.
Over the last year, the number of people unemployed for over 12 months has gone down by approximately 35,000 (to 368,000). The figure of those unemployed for over 2 years has decreased to 195,000 since the same period in 2016.  More than half a million 16-24 year olds are unemployed in the UK. Pertinently, there are 547,000 unemployed young people (including 181,000 full-time students looking for part-time work).  Earnings growth remained stable at 2.5%, some way behind the latest CPI inflation rate of 3%, the real wage squeeze continues.