UK unemployment has dropped to its lowest figure in 50 years, according to the official data, though soaring prices are still hitting the pockets of people across the nation as earnings fail to keep up with inflation.
The ONS said real pay was now “falling noticeably”, with regular wages excluding bonuses tumbling 1.8% after inflation in the three months to February, the steepest decline in almost nine years.
Meanwhile, UK inflation hit 7% in March - its highest for 30 years - with soaring food and energy prices hitting households.
Rising employment figures in Liverpool
- In Liverpool, 206,666 people were in payrolled employment in March, ONS figures show.
- This was up from 206,068 the month before and from 192,738 in March 2021.
- At the start of the pandemic, 196,089 people were in payrolled jobs in the area.
Separate ONS figures also show there has been a fall in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the Liverpool local authority area over the last year.
Around 21,450 people were on out-of-work benefits as of March 10, down by 8,595 from 30,045 at the same point the year before.
It meant 6.3% of the area’s working population sought support in March.
The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.
What’s been said
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "The stats show the continued strength of our jobs market, with the number of employees on payrolls rising once again in March and unemployment falling further below pre-pandemic levels."
However, the ONS said real pay was now "falling noticeably", with regular wages excluding bonuses tumbling 1.8% after inflation in the three months to February, the steepest decline in almost nine years.
Labour has called on Mr Sunak to "show the leadership the country needs" amid the cost-of-living crisis, while Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the Chancellor has done little to help families in the current climate.
"By holding down pay in the public sector and cutting Universal Credit, he has made the crisis worse," said Ms O'Grady.
"Families need help now. Whoever is Chancellor tomorrow should go to Parliament with an emergency budget to help with surging energy bills and to get wages rising."
Jack Leslie, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said the Chancellor should provide more support in the autumn budget, saying: "The sheer scale of this inflation-led squeeze of living standards makes it all the more remarkable how little support the Chancellor provided in his spring statement".
Mr Sunak acknowledged this is a "worrying time" but highlighted the £22 billion in support that the Government is providing in 2022-23, including the Household Support fund.
Employment minister Mims Davies said the Government is "doing everything we can to help", including supporting people in moving into better paid, higher skilled work and increasing the National Living and Minimum Wage.