More people are in work since the Brexit vote

Published: 9th Feb 2018

In brief


400,000 more people are employed in the UK since the EU referendum.


Employment has increased by around 450,000 since May to July 2016.

“We’ve got 400,000 more people employed in this country [since the EU referendum]. We’ve got record low levels of unemployment.”

Richard Tice, 8 February 2018

This is correct on employment, in fact the 400,000 figure quoted is lower than the figures show. Unemployment is at historically low levels, but is not the lowest on record. Both measures have been following a fairly consistent trend since 2012.

There are an estimated 450,000 more people in employment now compared to the three months from May to July 2016—around the time of the EU referendum. The figure is slightly higher or lower depending on when you start counting from. It was about 31.8 million then, and as of November last year it was 32.2 million.

Similarly, 75.3% of people aged 16-64 are employed, which is the joint highest employment rate since records from 1971 began. That’s up from 74.5% from May to July 2016.

Just over 1.4 million people are unemployed, according to estimates. That’s down from around 1.6 million around the time of the referendum. The current unemployment rate is 4.3%, down from 4.9% at the time of the referendum and the joint lowest since 1975.

This is very low unemployment by recent standards, but the rate was lower in the mid-20th century.

The unemployment rate counts people who aren’t in work but are actively seeking it. What’s more difficult to count is how many people aren’t in the kind of work they want to be. While employment levels are high, the experience of being employed is changing.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


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