Are Freelancers the Reason Why Unemployment Rates Are Down?

In statistics released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) it has been revealed that unemployment is currently at the lowest rate since 1975.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.7% between November 2016 and January 2017; a dramatic drop from the same period in 2012, when the unemployment rate was at 7.8%.

Increase in self-employment

While an increase in job opportunities and apprenticeships play their part in the drop, it’s worth noting the high level of self-employed workers, too.

The same release from ONS reported that self-employment is at an all-time high, with just under 3.5 million people working as self-employed full-time between the same three-month period.

The reasons for becoming self-employed are plentiful, with many opting for the freedom of their own schedule over a desk job, and others prioritising time with family over their career.

The number of part-time self-employed workers is on the rise too, with 1.3 million working for themselves part-time during the same period.

This could mean there are those dipping their toe in the water of self-employment to see if it’s a lifestyle that could work for them, pointing to a continued increase in full-time self-employment numbers in the future.

Slow wage rise

While the rate of unemployment is down, ONS reported that there has been a significantly slow increase on the rate of wage growth in the same period.

Wage growth has slowed to 2.2% from 2.6% in the previous period.

In an interview with BBC, UK economist for Capital Economic, said: “The latest UK labour market data suggest that average earnings growth is not picking up alongside inflation, resulting in a squeeze on real wage growth.”



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