About 8000 more people are unemployed, the highest unemployment rate since June 2004, but fewer people are on the dole. Sickness beneficary numbers are up, but there are fewer long term unemployed, according to the latest figures. Perhaps there's a link.
The labour force participation rate is a high of 68.5 percent - and counts people employed for one hour a week or more. Trouble is that most of the people who are working between one and 20 hours a week are also receiving a benefit, and there are still a lot of them.They are included as part of the participation rate as well as the benefit figures.
It is noted that the actual employment growth was for full time jobs, meaning the amount of part time workers has remained pretty constant. Under employment was the lowest for some years, taking a substantial drop in the last quarter, meaning that that more of those working part time are not looking for full time work, and many of those who were looking for full tme work while working part time, are now working full time.
However it is still a pretty tight labour market, and I predict these will be the best figures this year.