One of the strengths of the economy of the United Kingdom (UK) is its diverse labour market. According to the latest statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 13 August 2014, for the period ended June 2014, employment has been increasing in the UK since approximately two years ago. This increase reverses the increasing unemployment that the UK experienced during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 and confirms that the UK continues its recovery from the effects of the recession.
Whenever the UK had to recover from an economic slump, large enterprises in the private and public sectors customarily led such recovery. For the current recovery, some observers have opined that self-employment and a growing number of short-term contracts have been the foundation of the recent increase in the number of jobs.
The ONS reports that the employment rate was 73.0% during April to June of this year. This exceeds the rate for the same period last year by 1.5%; it exceeds the rate for January to March 2014 by 0.3%. On the other hand, unemployment was 6.4% during April to June of 2014, which is the lowest it has been since the latter part of 2008. This unemployment rate is less than the 7.0% rate that the Bank of England designated as a trigger for increasing interest rates. It is 1.4% less than it was at the end of the preceding year and is 0.4% less than it was during the quarter ended March 2014.
Another useful statistic disclosed by the ONS is the increase of 411,000, 9.9%, in the number of self-employed persons during the year ended June 2014. At the end of the previous year, the number of self-employed persons was 4.16 million and at the end of June 2014 the number was 4.57 million. According to the official data also, the UK had 33.05 million workforce jobs at the end of March 2014; this reflects increases of 1.08 million on the number for the previous year and 380,000 on the number as of December 2013. Of the 380,000 new workforce jobs since last December, 28.33 million were classified as employee jobs and 4.53 million as self-employment jobs; respectively, these were 74.9% and 25.6% of the new workforce jobs.