Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the unemployment rate among Britain’s female has fallen to 3.7% in the first three months. This trend has been recorded as the lowest since 1974. On the other hand, the unemployment rate for men was reported to be 3.9%, which was the lowest since mid-1975. This suggested a declining rate of unemployment for both men and women since late 2013.
Senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown, Ben Brettell attributed the decline in unemployment figures to the issues faced by Britain’s economy. “The UK labour market has been remarkably resilient in the face of Brexit-related uncertainty,” he said.
1.3 million people were unemployed from January to March 2019. This number was 119,000 lesser than a year earlier and 914,000 lesser than five years earlier. Furthermore, the overall employment rate of 3.8% in the first quarter was last observed in the three month period from November 1974 to January 1975. From October to December 1974, the unemployment rate was 3.7%.
Moreover, when gender comparison is made to the declining unemployment rate, results showed that for men it dropped from 7% to 3.9%, whereas for women fall was from 6.4% to 3.7%. ONS research attributes the reason of increase in women employment to state pension age. Therefore, fewer women are retiring between the ages of 60 and 65. This has also been a reason for increased number of working hours for women, in comparison to those in men, which has stayed stable. ONS added that the fall in the employment rate for men has been offset by increase in population.
UK economist at Capital Economics, Andrew Wishart, said in a statement that the increased participation rate of women was part of “a cultural change seen across developed economies”. This formed one of the reasons why higher wages attracted women and older workers into the workplace.