Unemployment continues to fall

UK unemployment fell to 4.3% in the latest November ONS figures, a new low since 1975.
The economy over the last year continued to generate a large number of additional jobs, enabling more people to find work.
This good result was not the one many forecasters assumed, as they expected a downturn which did not happen.


  1. Nig l
    December 7, 2017

    At what stage of full employment etc is it decided that to get the deficit in balance it needs to cut expenditure?

    1. Derek Henry
      December 7, 2017

      The deficit = everybodys savings to the penny.

      So why do you want to take savings from everybody. May I suggest we start with your pension first then ?

      See how you like that ?

      1. libertarian
        December 7, 2017


        Do you know what a deficit is even ?


      2. Edward2
        December 8, 2017

        Savings are down
        Debt is up

        1. Derek Henry
          December 8, 2017

          Look at the UK sectoral balances Edward our flow of funds and you’ll quickly see they match penny for penny.

          1. Edward2
            December 8, 2017

            You talk of accounting balances.
            Like company balance sheets figures balance.
            This is not correlation.

          2. libertarian
            December 9, 2017

            Derek discovers double entry book keeping

  2. Bob
    December 7, 2017

    I’m sure the BBC will be able to put a negative spin on the news; at the very least they will add the usual “despite Brexit” caveat, or perhaps they’ll just ignore it altogether.

  3. Tom
    December 7, 2017

    Could be far better still if we had real conservatives with intelligence and a low tax, low regulation vision living nos 10 and 11.

    The increasingly likely threat of a dire Corbyn/SNP government is deterring much investment in the UK too.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      December 7, 2017

      Dear Tom–Especially I think No. 11–I don’t know what Planet he lives on but how far wrong can a member of this Cabinet be with his ridiculous comment that the World would lower its opinion of us if we did not pay what we (don’t) “owe” to the rEU–The truth is the exact opposite–The World, particularly America I can assure him looks on with amazement that we could be so soft.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 8, 2017

        Indeed and what sort of person thinks we should have stamp duty at up to 15% and confiscate people’s wealth of them at 40% over just £325K on death. What sort of Conservative would want to kill self employment and attack the gig economy?

  4. am
    December 7, 2017

    worth comparing to the treasury figures projected on vote leave. obviously much better. project fear was a lie and prevented considerable numbers voting for leave.

  5. libertarian
    December 7, 2017

    I’ve been telling everyone this for more than a year.

    The rate of employment will begin to slow now sadly due to this governments incompetence over apprenticeships, a 60% drop off in uptake since the introduction of the apprentice tax ( levy )

    The failure to reduce taxes and to encourage investment whilst putting up other taxes ( business rates etc)

    The ongoing omnishambles around Brexit

    The ongoing Conservative governments continue attacks on the self employed and small businesses ( IR35 etc etc)

    1. jerry
      December 7, 2017

      @libertarian; How do you explain the 1,100 or so UK job loses announced just today (in this case from GE)? These losses have nothing to do with UK govt. policies, nor Brexit, but problems with non UK companies shedding costs and thus jobs away from their home territory.

      1. libertarian
        December 7, 2017


        Do you live under a rock? 1,000’s of jobs are lost each year and have been every year since time immemorial . Companies fail, companies downsize, new industries arise and disrupt old industries. We have just been creating far more than we lose. You dont think GE cutting jobs in its power plant divisions across Europe has anything to do with government policy? Interesting

        Anyway as your post has nothing to do with what I wrote I’m not sure what the point of your comment is!!

        1. jerry
          December 9, 2017

          @libertarian; Unlike you Libby, no I do not “live under a rock”, unlike you I live very much in the real world.

          You have no wish to understand the real reasons GE is cutting costs (worldwide), clue it has zilch to do with any government policies [1] nor do you wish to understand the point I was making because to do so would mean admitting that you talked utter gibberish in the comment I replied to.

          [1] even if GE themselves might spin it that way!

          1. libertarian
            December 9, 2017


            Your comment bares no relationship to what my comment says. Try reading it again

            GE is cutting jobs worldwide in its power division because more and more countries ( except Germany and China) are turning away from fossil fuels. You dont think thats a government policy???? Really? General Electric Co. already has the distinction of being the worst performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year, so no wonder its shedding staff.

            Gibberish you say…. hmm I’ve been right and vindicated by events in every post I’ve made about falling unemployment

            I’m now predicting a slow down in new employment , you cite a 1,000 job losses and use this as evidence that I’m wrong….. Lol Jerry you really need to think this through

    2. Lifelogic
      December 8, 2017

      Indeed, when governments interfere it almost always makes things far worse.

  6. alan jutson
    December 7, 2017

    Good news.

    I wonder why I did not hear this 0n the BBC headlines this morning ?

  7. ian wragg
    December 7, 2017

    And the in work benefits continues to rise as more underemployed people join the job market.
    The number of volunteers from the wifes charity who are being sent on pointless computer courses so as to reduce the jobless count.
    I would imagine in fulltime working days we probably have around 10% unemployed and we are still importing about a quarter of a million annually.

    1. sky9
      December 7, 2017

      Ian you have hit the nail on the head. We have a service economy where part time work is required to access benefits. So many of those working in the service economy are low skilled immigrants who then not only receive in work benefits but also housing benefits.
      Unlike in Germany we appear to encourage low skilled immigration then subsidise their employment. Great for the employer, a disaster from the treasury. No wonder we continue to run a deficit.

  8. margaret
    December 7, 2017

    Many more people at present are paying for Prescriptions. This is how it impacts on us in the NHS.

  9. Denis Cooper
    December 7, 2017

    I’ve had a quick look at the new House of Lords EU Committee report:


    “Brexit: deal or no deal”

    and I don’t see any estimates of the loss of GDP if we fell back on WTO terms for trade, with a) whatever supplementary agreements may be necessary to facilitate trade on those WTO terms plus b) agreements on other matters such as counter-terrorism, nuclear safeguards, data exchange and aviation so they did not come to a sudden halt.

    I see the bald assertion, readily available to be picked out of the summary and uncritically and in many cases gleefully repeated throughout the mass media without much risk of any effective rebuttal from the government, that ‘no deal’ would be deeply damaging for the UK, but I do not see any estimate of what fraction of our GDP would be lost by falling back on WTO terms of trade which could be regained through a special trade agreement.

    Those who support leaving the EU have been put at a severe disadvantage by careless use of language, with a constant failure to distinguish between no special trade deal and no deal of any kind at all on any subject matter.

  10. Duncan
    December 7, 2017

    Let’s call a spade and spade on this issue. The Tory ex-leader and his lackeys lied to the British public about the effects of a Leave vote victory. It was without question one of the most shameful periods in British political history other than the election of the grotesque from 1997.

    it now seems we have months if not weeks before May, Hammond and the upper echelons of the British Civil Service (Heywood) sell the Leave vote down the river and prevent a full Brexit. This circumvention of democracy by a unelected bureaucrats will cause a dislocation

    All Leave voters implore all Tory MP’s to confront these people, attack them and carry out the wishes of the people expressed during the EU referendum or else we will be forever caught in the EU cobweb

  11. Bob Dixon
    December 7, 2017

    Great Britain Ltd must be doing something right.

  12. Iain Gill
    December 7, 2017

    The most fake of all fake news.

    Don’t peddle this nonsense John, it just shows how out of touch you are.

    Like claiming the NHS is a great institution.

    And other “emperors new clothes” stuff.

    We are not completely stupid.

    Suggest that an active “stop rigging the stats” taskforce is needed, the political class just looks like Chairman Mao being told how great tractor production is!

    1. libertarian
      December 7, 2017

      Iain Gill

      Grab your tin foil hat and do some googling of basically any business support organisation and find out about the skills shortage, or log on to any job advert portal, you really do live in a fantasy world

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        December 8, 2017


        I have no dispute that employers require better skilled employees. The so called productivity gap.

        Training and paying current staff who already understand the business and their customers is the way forward.

        You have an employment business so your view will always be recruit.

        Personally I think improve rather than recruit.

        1. libertarian
          December 9, 2017

          Narrow shoulders

          Nothing wrong with improving staff. Employers are also willing to train new recruits via apprenticeships and other means, but thats not enough , employers need more people not just different skills. There are 751,000 unfilled job vacancies in the UK today

  13. oldtimer
    December 7, 2017

    I see Mr David Davis got a lot of stick for suggesting to the HoC Brexit Committee that economic forecasts are not worth the paper they are written on (or words to that effect). I think he was absolutely right about that. The world and national economies move too fast and too unpredictably to be susceptible to impact forecasts. In the case of Brexit there are even more potential variables in play than usual. We saw that with the wildly inaccurate forecasts produced by the Treasury before the referendum. What matters is the ability to respond effectively to whatever the future throws at you. The motto Be Prepared comes to mind.

  14. Lifelogic
    December 7, 2017

    People would employ more still were the employment laws were not so absurdly complex and full of potential liabilities for the employer. If Theresa May gets her way and “builds on EU employment rights” it will make this position even worse. As does the absurd court ruling on tribunal fees and employment rights for the self employed.

    Still lots of pointless and unproductive jobs for lawyers, HR experts, tribunal officials, paper pushers and the likes will be created – thus lowering overall UK productivity yet again and making it less competitive.

  15. Lifelogic
    December 7, 2017


    Exactly, does anyone really care if they are paid or not? Though Nigel Farage clearly does deserve both an excellent pension and a Dukedom.

  16. Andy
    December 7, 2017

    Except a downturn did happen. Growth massively stalled. We went from being the fastest growing G7 country to the slowest. The EU is growing faster than us. Antarctica is the only continent growing slow than us. Ironic.

    Incidentally this is the definition of downturn from the brilliantly named economichelp.org. “An economic downturn implies a fall in real GDP. A downturn also includes that period just before a recession – with a fall in the rate of economic growth and a widening output gap.”

    I should send this to the Brexiteers for their Christmas reading lists. They could tackle the tricky concepts right after they’re done with the 2018 Biggles Annual.

    1. Edward2
      December 8, 2017

      The UK is still growing
      What on earth are you on about?

  17. Wine of Babel
    December 7, 2017

    John, we need a public enquiry into how people iike Gavin Williamsom can get anywhere in politics.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      December 8, 2017

      Dear John–Sorry to have to infer from your deletion of my tuppenceworth on this (praising the new Defence Secretary) that you line up with the legal wallahs inventing a problem on this. You can be a bit of a Goody Two Shoes, which does you no favours.

  18. Wine of Babel
    December 7, 2017

    I used to be very pro-military but the older I get the more I realize the monster is now out of control.

    1. Bob
      December 7, 2017

      It may have been more prudent to retain the Harriers until the replacements were delivered and operation (and maybe beyond).

      If DfID were scrapped, more money could have been diverted to the military for dual (humanitarian and defence) roles.

      Emergency aid could then be provided with military precision without the usual middlemen and consultants first skimming billions.

  19. Wine of Babel
    December 7, 2017

    Why is this generation of politicians trying every trick in the book to destroy everything precious the Protestant Reformation gave us?

  20. fedupsoutherner
    December 7, 2017

    Sorry John, but can’t seem to get excited about anything to do with this country at the moment with the Brexit issue hanging over our heads and the disaster May and co are pushing us into. How many jobs will be at risk with the dire future ministers look like carving out for us? The reason you got so many comments yesterday about Brexit is that people are seething but we don’t hear much from Brexiteers either in the papers, on the TV or on the floor of the commons. Disappointing doesn’t nearly sum up how most of are feeling.

  21. Worker
    December 7, 2017

    Yes BUT since Brexit far more job centre staff have been made redundant or relocated and, job centres closed due to no more than fifteen people using them in any one day.
    ^ ^
    If you think the above is a sarcastic or mildly satirical parodistic comment on a theoretical Remoaner- BUT, to everything positive, then think again . The SNP MPs in the House and in Committee have said exactly the same many times. With dead-pan faces too! How funny is that! 🙂

  22. Peter
    December 7, 2017

    Low unemployment numbers are welcome. However, I worry about the nature of many jobs these days -zero hours contracts, the ‘gig’ economy, ‘internships’ etc.

    I would not like to be starting out in the world these days. Things are getting worse for employees. Many jobs and benefits have been allowed to slip away or be shipped abroad.

    People who took payments to retire early often complain that their offspring have difficulties now finding work. I wonder if they ever think that keeping the job they relinquished in the UK might have eased the situation for the next generation?

    1. libertarian
      December 10, 2017


      No need to worry. The new paradigm of work is doing away with fixed hours and wage slavery

      The gig economy ( inc ZHC, part time, portfolio & project work) allows people to balance work/life, it facilities greater access to the job market and is behind the huge increase in new businesses . There is now a record 5.7 million smaller businesses contributing £1.9 Trillion to the economy.

      Following the Brexit vote and the fall in the value of the pound the trend to reshoring jobs has gathered pace , see here https://www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/business/manufacturing-returning-uk-says-skymark-16-10-2017

      There are 32 million in work in the UK today , the highest number ever recorded

      I so wish I was 40 years younger, the world is a fabulous place to start out now, the range and diversity of work, the changing pace, the flexibility , all great stuff. My youngest son worked in FinTech for a year , made a load of money, went travelling and volcano surfing in central America for 6 months, got a job within a week of coming back in a digital media company and has already had a promotion. I wish my 20’s had been like that.

      If people are having difficulty finding work its solely because they dont know how to look and apply for a job properly. I’m happy to tell you how to do it, if it helps.

      Meanwhile the average salary in the UK is now £27,271 this year employees have also gained from workplace pensions which has added 2% on top of salary rises to the renumeration package of all workers.

  23. Anonymous
    December 7, 2017


    “Post Brexit Britain will fail because of a shortage of immigrants.”

    I infer that a shortage of jobs won’t be the problem then.

    1. Enrico
      December 7, 2017

      The borders are not closing,only being controlled so there will be no shortage of the people we require.

      1. Anonymous
        December 7, 2017

        Enrico – That wasn’t my point. Remainers defeat their own argument: “Britain will lose businesses” and then go on to say “There won’t be anyone to do the work”

        Is there going to be work to be done or not ? I wish they’d make their minds up.

        Anyway. I really don’t think Brexit is happening. No in any meaningful sense.

  24. Ed Mahony
    December 7, 2017

    Mr Redwood,


    If you support Softish Brexit (we get control of borders whilst remaining inside the single market and customs union which we’ll have to pay more for though) I will go out of my way to support you as Prime Minister (as long as Mrs May is allowed her fair stint in office). I’m serious. And that we turn the UK into the world’s Second Silicon Valley.

    This country has a great future but not outside single market. Outside the single market, there could be economic, social and political turmoil for years to come.

    1. Ed Mahony
      December 7, 2017

      (sorry, i said i wouldn’t comment again but had to say that)

    2. Ed Mahony
      December 7, 2017

      Making the UK Great Again:

      1. Turn UK into World’s Second Silicon Valley
      2. Pay off national debt
      3. Improve Productivity
      4. Keep socialists out of power
      5. Support UK families through tax breaks etc
      6. With control of borders, new building programme to build homes for young families – with aesthetically-pleasing houses, streets and towns
      7. Support UK Arts and Nature, building up love for country
      8. Keep the Union strong

      1. Know-Dice
        December 7, 2017

        Pigs, fed, watered and ready to fly…

      2. Derek Henry
        December 7, 2017

        Number 2 is impossible.

        The national debt is everyone’s savings that have been put in treasury securities.

        If you pay off the national debt then not one person in the UK will have any savings.

        How is it even possible you still believe we operate using a gold standard ?

        1. Edward2
          December 8, 2017

          This is economic nonsense.
          There is no correlation between my savings and the State creating debt.

          1. Derek Henry
            December 8, 2017

            Edward yes there is a correlation between your savings and the state creating debt.

            Penny for Penny. All you need to do is look at the UK sectoral balances charts and our flow of funds.

            So please tell me who the UK government owes the £1.8 trillion to?

            I bet you have no idea. The majority of it is pension funds and yes that is everybody’s savings and foreigners who invest in UK treasuries with the excess £’s they earn after selling us stuff. Yes that’s their sterling savings.

            I’ll break it down for you.

            Insurance companies and pension funds (29%), overseas
            investors (28%) and the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Ltd (25%). Banks and building societies (9%) Non-financial private corporations and other financial institutions (7%) UK households who buy gilts direct (1%) Local authorities and public corporations (1%)

            Phone your bank and ask where they keep your sterling savings if you are earning interest. You’d be better off phoning threadneedle street.

          2. Edward2
            December 9, 2017

            Your comment again doesn’t prove correlation only a balance at a point in time just as balance sheets balance.

        2. rick hamilton
          December 8, 2017

          Eh? What about the savings we put into foreign stocks and bonds, real estate, land, works of art, precious metals, and the treasuries bought by foreigners?

          1. Derek Henry
            December 8, 2017

            What about the savings we put into foreign stocks and bonds,

            You won’t be doing that with £’s as that is an impossability so then you make up part of the foreign debt on their balance sheet.

            Real estate, land, works of art, precious metals

            Isn’t savings. You’ve spent your savings to buy those things. huge difference.

            Treasuries bought by foreigners?

            Is correct and are bought using £’s and make up part of the national debt. The foreigners don’t hold them in their own country they hold them at the BOE.

            Look Ireland has £310 billion they are not held in Ireland they are held at the FED.


      3. Dennis Zoff
        December 8, 2017


        Is this some sort of humourless satire?

        1. Ed Mahony
          December 8, 2017


          N0. Just a stupid comment of mine (in retrospect).
          I genuinely like Mr Redwood as a leading politician although disagree with him over Europe. I’m serious that i think we should remain in the single market (whilst getting back control of our borders but we’ll have to pay for that). I’m also seriously concerned what would happen if we crashed out without a deal. That’s all (you can put my stupid comment down to nerves).

          1. Ed Mahony
            December 8, 2017

            (‘my stupid comment’ – apologies)

        2. Ed Mahony
          December 8, 2017

          And no, not trying to be humorous. But trying to keep things light-hearted in light of the vitriolic abuse people have received (from both sides of the debate – not on this website but elsewhere).

          On a more serious note, i think someone like Mr Redwood could easily be PM but i think, to be frank, his position over Europe alienates him too much from many Conservative Remain voters.

        3. Derek Henry
          December 8, 2017

          No Dennis 100% accouting fact.

      4. Narrow Shoulders
        December 8, 2017

        @ed your first post was unremarkable

        Your reply pure fantasy.

        Please suggest the possible. You are not Mr Cameron who asked us to believe he had achieved change.

    3. NickC
      December 7, 2017

      Ed, By the time Mrs May has finished the only part of the EU we will actually leave is the CAP; everything else from the SM to defence, to fish, to money has been compromised or given away.

    4. libertarian
      December 10, 2017

      Ed M

      How many times do people need to be told. There is no such thing as a single market. There is an internal market in goods and even that is not on a shared regulatory basis as each country has slightly different internal regulations. The internal market is also NOT a free market its a protectionist customs union that artificially inflates the price of goods. We need to leave both more than any other benefit of Brexit

  25. jerry
    December 7, 2017

    How is this figure being measured. By somehow measuring PAYE income tax receipts & the number of UTR’s issued or the more simplistic but easier method of counting the number of UB/UC claimants?

  26. Mick
    December 7, 2017

    Great news but of course you won’t get the bbc to make a big thing of it
    Off topic
    This guy really gets on my nerves, he and his beloved Labour Party were put into Westminster on a manifesto to leave the eu which also means leaving the single market and custom union funny how they change tune once they get your vote, well hopefully come the next GE these muppets are all kicked into touch and people are put into power who believe in our great country and not themselves and there beloved eu

  27. The Big Ear
    December 7, 2017

    President Trudeau on his recent utter and comprehensive failure of trade talks with China
    “Before agreeing to formally start talks, the government wants China to agree to a broad framework that will incorporate its so-called progressive trade agenda that would place the environment, labour, gender………. and governance issues formally on the bargaining table.”

    Only a Liberal would speak to any other nation about swapping your fish for your their chips and bring GENDER into it as the starting point.

  28. Colin Hart
    December 7, 2017

    Despite Carney.

  29. John
    December 7, 2017

    Where are the Brexit doom mongers?

    If only weedkillers worked this fast!

  30. Derek Henry
    December 7, 2017

    Brilliant news !

    However, two words

    Working poor.

    There are a lot of people who work who are very poor indeed.

    As both Seattle and San Fransisco show after recent studies. Even after increasing the min wage dramatically they are still struggling to fill vacancies in the job market.

    There is so much more room to do more.

  31. No Question Time
    December 8, 2017

    BBC Question Time was again death by tooth extraction and hiding your beer. Liberal-lefties execrate democracy of other people irrespective of who they are, even members of their own parties. Trump obeys the democratic wish of his own voters and also a 100% in favour cross-party vote of all the Senate and he is a tyrant to leftie liberals. All other Presidents who flouted the Will of the People are praiseworthy. Liberalism and socialism are diseases

  32. Javk swelke
    December 8, 2017

    You should come out here to south east asia and feel the vibes the whole place is jumping everyone is working and not a benefit is sight..vietnam malaysia cambodia and indonesia..what a bunch of spoilt brats back at home..young people want e erything laid on a plate and even then find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Just how are you going to manage for the fruit and veg picking when all of the east europeans have faded away. all talk about the unemployment rate is just that- talk- Jeez
    And here you have the self infllcted wound Brexit coming down the tracks..stupid..stupid

  33. Epikouros
    December 8, 2017

    The figure is helped of course by the raise in numbers who are no longer seeking work who would be if not for unnecessary education rules and incentives and a welfare system that motivates some not to seek employment. Not as bad here as the EU as in many member states they have very high unemployment or they export their unemployed or award them even more to drop out of seeking unemployment.

  34. Mike Wilson
    December 8, 2017

    What can one say? How does one measure ’employment’? It strikes me that a lot of people in this country do jobs that pay very low wages. As a result we have most families (with children) with both parents working – to some extent. A woman who lives up the road from me has 3 children – she delivers the local free paper. I presume she gets paid for this – not much – but that she does it because her family needs the money. There is a sense of millions of people struggling on low wages / part time work / tax credits etc.

    And this is trumpeted by the Tory party as ‘yippee, low unemployment!’. Hmmm.

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