Brexit Britain is booming! Remain doom-mongers talk down the UK’s economy… yet a record number of Britons are now in work and more foreigners have jobs than before the referendum
More Britons are in work than ever despite predictions of huge job losses in the event of a vote for Brexit.
Official figures released yesterday showed that employment is at a record high, with more than 2,000 people finding work every day.
The workforce has grown to 32.34million – the highest level since records began in 1971, according to the Office for National Statistics. The total has risen by 609,000 since the referendum of June 2016.
Before the vote George Osborne claimed up to 820,000 jobs could be lost within two years if Britain chose to leave.
‘These figures just show how ridiculous and discredited Project Fear is,’ said pro-Brexit Tory MP Andrew Bridgen. ‘Britain has nothing to fear from taking back control of its money, its borders and its laws.’
Sir Bill Cash, a fellow Conservative MP, said the figures showed Brexit was ‘a great opportunity’ that was being put at risk by diehard Remainers.
The ONS also said the number of European Union citizens working in Britain had gone up since the referendum.
Almost 2.37million had jobs in March – 155,000 more than in early 2016. And workers from outside the EU have risen by 235,000 over the past two years.
Yesterday’s report from the ONS raised hopes that the economic slowdown at the start of this year would be temporary. The economy grew by just 0.1 per cent in the first quarter while output per hour – a key measure of productivity – dropped by 0.5 per cent.
But Chancellor Philip Hammond said: ‘We can be proud of our record on jobs. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 40 years.’
John Longworth, the former head of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Once again Project Fear has been trounced by the outstanding jobs figures.
‘At the same time, we see that the German economy has slowed and unemployment remains unacceptably high in many EU countries.’
An extra 3.2million people have joined the workforce since the Tories came to power in coalition in 2010. Four in five men aged between 16 and 64 are now in work, the highest proportion since 1991. Unemployment has dropped to a 43-year low of 4.2 per cent – compared with 8.5 per cent in the eurozone.
The total fell by 46,000 over the first three months of the year to 1.42million – 116,000 lower than a year earlier.
An average of 2,189 jobseekers found work every day in the first three months of the year.
John Hawksworth, chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: ‘The great British job-creating machine kicked back into life in the first quarter of 2018.
‘All of this good news stands in marked contrast to the subdued GDP growth of just 0.1 per cent. This estimate could be revised up later. But productivity growth turned negative again after a couple of quarters when it seemed to be perking up. This may reflect the fact that the downturn in output due to the cold weather in the first quarter did not lead to job losses given that it was seen as a purely temporary setback.’
Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, said the post-crisis jobs boom in the UK was a big achievement given persistent fears over the threat to jobs from technology and machines.
Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said: ‘Since 2010 we have seen 3.2million more people move into work right across the UK.
‘Youth unemployment has fallen by over 40 per cent and the unemployment rate at its joint lowest since 1975. Today’s figures once again cement that turnaround, with a new employment rate record of 75.6 per cent, and on average over 1,000 people each and every day, since 2010, getting a job.
‘With wages growing faster than inflation and increases in the personal tax allowance, not only are more people bringing home a pay packet but they are keeping more of their hard earned money for themselves and their families.’
The Bank of England believes the official growth figure of just 0.1 per cent in the first quarter will be revised up to 0.3 per cent over time.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, said: ‘The labour market figures suggests that the economy may not be as weak as some of the recent data suggest. It may fuel hopes that the economy can bounce back after GDP growth slowed in the first quarter.’
The ONS also said wages were rising at the fastest pace for nearly three years as businesses took on more staff.
Average pay rose 3 per cent to a record £484 a week in the year to March. It was the biggest rise since 2015 and ahead of inflation at 2.5 per cent.
May 16th, 2018: Daily Mail