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Employment falls for first time since 2013

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The number of people in work has inched downwards over the last three months for the first time since April 2013.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the total dropped to 30.98 million for the three months to May 2015, a reduction of 67,000 on the previous three months, equivalent to a 0.2 per cent drop.

The number of individuals not seeking or available to work aged between 16 and 64 also increased by 30,000, or 0.3 per cent, over the quarter to 9 million, and 104,000, or 1.2 per cent, on a year-on-year basis.

However, year-on-year numbers show there are still 265,000 more people in work compared with 12 months ago, an increase of 0.9 per cent, and 272,000 more working full-time.

The ONS also found wages have increased by 3.2 per cent including bonuses, and 2.8 per cent excluding bonuses.

Aegon UK investment director Nick Dixon says: “The further uptick in wages will be warmly welcomed by consumers after more than five years’ sluggish growth.

“Coupled with the triple alliance of low inflation, muted oil prices, and a strong pound sterling, real wage growth looks set to stay over the medium term.

“It also spells good news for long-term savings, as people pay a proportion of their salary into pensions which will help lift retirement incomes over time.”

Last quarter, the ONS reported unemployment had fallen to its lowest level for seven years.

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  1. I am fearful that with the significant increase in NMW that perhaps the peak of employment has been seen and higher unemployment will be the order of the day especially as the most affected sectors (hospitality, care, retail) have to make cuts to expect better productivity at higher cost. Higher migration and thus higher unemployment generally are likely too as the NMW attracts more from the continent as we enter the highest stakes of wages in the EU, especially with such a strong Pound.

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