The UK has once again delivered record-breaking jobs market data, thanks in large part to the rising number of self-employed people.
Data from the Office for National Statistics for November 2016 to January 2017 shows that the country’s employment rate hit 74.6 per cent during the period, with 92,000 more jobs created and unemployment falling to 4.7 per cent, the lowest level in 32 years.
There were 305,000 more people in work in the three months to February than was the case at the same point last year, while the self-employed population grew by 148,000. This was more than the number of new jobs within the employee population, which grew by 144,000.
This continues a broader trend seen over the last year in which the self-employed population has accounted for more new jobs than payroll-based roles. Indeed, since the recession of 2008, self-employment has accounted for 40 per cent of the total growth in the jobs market.
Responding to the figures, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed has called on the government to pledge continued support to what it describes as “an absolutely crucial catalyst” for the continued strength of the labour market, following the recent announcement and subsequent abandonment of plans to introduce a tax hike for self-employed people.
Lorence Nye, IPSE’s economic policy adviser, said: “The latest figures really underline the fact that the self-employed have been essential to the UK economy, and their overwhelming worth and value should be nurtured and encouraged by the government rather than damaged.
“Targeting them to gain higher tax revenues will only have wider damaging ramifications for the economy.”