EU Who? UK Employment Rate Reaches Record High in Run Up to Brexit

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: A skilled fitter works on the spoiler of a A400M at the Airbus aircraft manufacturer's Filton site on November 19, 2015 in Bristol, England. The site at Filton's main role is the designing and manufacture of wings, fuel and landing gear systems for all ranges …
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The economy of the United Kingdom has once again refused to conform to the doom and gloom prophecies of anti-Brexit economists, posting record job numbers ahead of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

In the three month period leading up to last month’s general election, in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a decisive mandate from the British public to leave the EU, some 208,000 people entered the British labour force, representing the highest level of job growth in nearly a year.

The employment rate increased by 0.6 per cent since the beginning of the year, raising the employment rate in the UK to a record high of 76.3 per cent.

The number of people employed in the UK reached a record 32.9 million, while the unemployment remained at just 3.8 per cent, the lowest since 1975, according to the jobs report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“This, coupled with business confidence turning a corner, is paving the way for an even stronger jobs market in 2020,” said minister for employment Mims Davies.

The impressive figures will likely bolster Boris Johnson’s ability to negotiate from a position of strength in upcoming trade talks with the European Union.  The numbers also dispell ‘Project Fear’ forecasts from anti-Brexit economists, who predicted net losses in the job market as a result of Brexit.

The growth in employment was driven in large part by women, who reached a record employment rate of 72.3 per cent, an increase of 1.1 per cent on the year.

The higher level of female employment is believed to have been a result of the change in the retirement age from 60 to 65, leading to more women remaining in the workforce.

“The employment rate is at a new record high, with over two-thirds of the growth in people in work in the last year coming from women working full-time,” David Freeman, the head ONS head of labour market and households, told the BBC.

“Self-employment has also been growing strongly, and the number of people working for themselves has now passed five million for the first time ever,” he said.

The outlook for post-Brexit Britain was also reinforced on Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which backtracked on earlier prognostications, now admitting that the UK will outperform its Eurozone rivals in the coming two years.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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