With a worldwide recovery underway over the last few months, the UK is finally starting to show signs of a fall in unemployment claims as the employment rate remained steady last month. This is great news, as a further study has indicated that being employed is a great indicator of how you feel about yourself and your life.
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics released last month show that claims for unemployment benefit fell by more than 41,000. This is the largest fall since 1997 and even exceeded the forecast made by Bloomberg of 25,000. Additionally, the unemployment rate remained steady at 7.7% of the population.
It is expected that these figures will continue to improve over the next few months with economists predicting that the unemployment rate will remain steady (keeping it under the rate at which interest rates will rise) until 2015.
Much of this improvement is being felt in manufacturing and construction. This is evident by the improvement in house prices over the last few months – a situation which immediately makes people feel wealthier and leads to more spending. This win win leads to further employment.
The British Chamber of Commerce have reported this month that they have seen a third quarter rise of 1% from 0.7% in the previous quarter. They have suggested that manufacturing seems to be seeing an upturn and could even be responding to the US shutdown, by picking up business. While they say it is too early to predict a full recovery, the signs look good.
This is all great news, but it is the way that this small recovery makes us feel which is perhaps more clearly highlighted by further stats from the ONS. Their latest wellbeing study shows that there has been an increase in life satisfaction since 2011/2012 and that these correlate to employment levels.
In Wales, for example, the unemployment rate is 8.4% (the highest in the UK) and it was also the place in the UK with the lowest satisfaction scores at just four out of ten. The South West, meanwhile had the highest personal wellbeing scores and the lowest unemployment rates. It seems clear that being employed is good for the soul.