Unemployment rate in UK continues to grow as vacancies remain at historic highs

Unemployment is now at 3.6% in the UK. Credit: PA

The rate of UK unemployment rose to 3.6% in the three months to September, up from 3.5% in the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics said.

Figures also showed that the estimated number of vacancies fell by 46,000 on the quarter to 1,225,000.

But despite this the number of vacancies continue to remain at historically high levels.

Elsewhere, wages in real terms are failing to keep up with inflation. Over the year, total pay fell by 2.6% and regular pay fell by 2.7%.

Although it is marginally smaller than the record fall in real regular pay witnessed in April to June 2022, it remains among the largest falls in growth since comparable records began in 2001.

Darren Morgan, director of labour and economic statistics at the ONS, said: "The proportion of people neither working nor looking for work has risen again.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, this shift has largely been caused by older workers leaving the labour market altogether, but in the most recent quarter the main contribution has actually come from younger groups.

"August and September saw well over half a million working days lost to strikes, the highest two-month total in more than a decade, with the vast majority coming from the transport and communications sectors."

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce the Autumn Statement on Thursday. Credit: PA

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: "I appreciate that people’s hard-earned money isn’t going as far as it should.

"[Vladimir)] Putin’s illegal war has driven up inflation - a hidden and insidious tax that is eating into paychecks and savings.

"Tackling inflation is my absolute priority and that guides the difficult decisions on tax and spending we will make on Thursday.

"Restoring stability and getting debt falling is our only option to reduce inflation and limit interest rate rises."

Meanwhile, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the figures were a result of "12 years of Tory economic mistakes and low growth".

"Real wages have fallen again, thousands of over 50s have left the labour market and a record number of people are out of work because they’re stuck on NHS waiting lists or they’re not getting proper employment support," she said.

"What Britain needs in the Autumn Statement on Thursday are fairer choices for working people, and a proper plan for growth."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...