UK Employment Rate Reached Record High as It Leaves the EU

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Prime Minister Boris Johnson wears a construction helmet with "Prime Minister" written on it, during a visit to Wilton Engineering Services as part of a General Election campaign trail stop on November 20, 2019 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Defying naysaying anti-Brexiteers, the United Kingdom marked its departure from the European Union by recording the highest levels of employment ever, with nearly 33 million people in work.

The number of people employed in the UK rose by 180,000 in the three months to December, posting another record high of 32.93 million, with unemployment remaining flat at 1.29 million. Average wages climbed to £512 per week, which adjusted for inflation is the highest level since March of 2008 during the financial crisis.

Women were the main driver of the rise in employment, with 150,000 women joining the workforce in the quarter, reaching a record 15.61 million, according to the figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“Employment has continued its upward trend, with the rate nudging up to another record high. In particular, the number of women working full-time grew strongly over the past year,” said ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Myrto Miltiadou.

In response to the record numbers, Employment Minister Mims Davies said: “As we embark on a new chapter as an independent nation outside the EU, we do so with a record-breaking jobs market and business confidence on the rise.”

“With wages still outpacing inflation, UK workers can expect their money to go further as we look ahead to a decade of renewal,” he added.

Ahead of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the number of EU nationals working in Britain rose by the largest percentage since early 2017, up 133,000 from the previous quarter, reaching 2.44 million.

A record 5.81 million people born outside the UK are currently working in the country, with 25,000 non-EU foreign-born workers entering the labour force, totalling 3.37 million.

In response to the rise in foreign-born workers, Dr Ben Greening, Executive Director of Migration Watch UK, said: “These figures show that the UK is as attractive as ever for migrant workers, with a new record of 5.8 million non-UK born people in employment. They made up nearly half of the growth in the number of workers over the past year.”

“The government trumpets record employment levels but that includes nearly 160,000 more workers from abroad on the year and still, we see no pick-up of growth in wages or productivity. These are the realities and we can only hope that immigration proposals unveiled this week will be clearly focused on bringing numbers down,” he added in comments seen by Breitbart London.

As a part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy, the government is planning an overhaul of the immigration laws in the UK, by introducing an Australia style points-based system, in order to end the “reliance on importing cheap, low-skilled labour”.

Under the new system, migrants earning below £25,600 will need to have at least 70 ‘points’ to work in the UK. The points will be determined based on an applicant’s salary, education level, English proficiency, and prospective job offers.

“The system will be simpler and fairer and will not discriminate between countries and would return democratic control of immigration to the British people,” a Downing Street official told The Times.

“The PM stressed that we must demonstrate that the UK is open and welcoming to talent from across the world but the new system would end reliance on importing cheap, low-skilled labour, bringing down immigration numbers overall,” he added.

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