Firms in the United Kingdom continued hiring hundreds of thousands of new employees in the period between November to January, even with Brexit just right around the corner.
New data that was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of the United Kingdom revealed that employers ramped up their hiring at the fastest pace in a period of over three years during the three-month period spanning between 2018 and 2019.
The number of people in work rose by 222,000, thus pushing the rate of unemployment down to 3.9 percent, its lowest level since 1975. The sharp rise in new jobs noticeably beat the expectations of economists.
The tight labour market has sustained wage growth as firms strive to retain their workers, while also recruiting some new hires.
According to the ONS, the average weekly earnings were up by 3.4 percent in the three-month period as compared to the same time during the previous year. Once inflation, which eats into people’s earnings, is factored in, the workers were making approximately 1.5 percent more as compared to last year.
The labour market has continued to resist weakness in the overall economy. Businesses have continued hiring even as they cautioned that uncertainty has driven them to delay investments and experience some struggle with planning for the future.
The chief market analyst at the trading platform XTB, David Cheetham, stated: “It appears that the labour market is still in remarkably rude health despite the ongoing calamity surrounding Brexit.”
The most recent pay data is considered to be a positive sign for workers around the country.
A senior economist at PwC, Mike Jakeman, stated: “Political developments aside, these latest numbers, combined with the moderation in inflation … suggests that 2019 is among the better recent periods for workers.”
He added: “Upward pressure on wages is likely to continue for the remainder of the year at least, on the assumption that a no-deal Brexit is avoided.”