Figures published yesterday by the ONS showed that, despite GDP falling 0.4 per cent this April, and manufacturing dragged down by plunging vehicles built, unemployment remained at 3.8 per cent (1.3 million people), its lowest since 1974. Employment grew by 32,000 in the same three months taking the total in work to a new record 32.7 million. Average earnings grew at an annualised 3.4 per cent, 3.1 per cent excluding bonus payments. Women in work in the 3 months to April hit a record high of 72 per cent – versus 80.3 per cent of males in work – possibly because they’ve postponed retirement or because two or more incomes per household are needed to maintain a certain standard of living.
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