Self employment sees 2% rise year on year

Thursday 19 February 2015

The latest Labour Market Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that self employment in the UK is continuing to rise, seeing a two per cent increase compared to last year.

There are 88,000 more people who are self employed, which includes limited company contractors and sole traders, compared to a year ago.

While typically self employment is taken up more frequently by men that by women, the number of females who have chosen to work in this way has risen considerable. Between October to December 2013 and October to December 2014, 77,000 more women decided to become their own boss. That is a rise of 5.6 per cent.

ONS figures show that overall employment levels went up in the last three months of 2014 compared to the third quarter of 2013. Unemployment continued to fall during this time. These changes show that employment and unemployment levels are continuing in the direction of movement that was set during late 2011 and early 2012.

Between October and December 2014, 30.9 million people were recorded to be in work. That's 103,000 up on the previous three months and 608,000 more than the same period in the previous year.

The employment rate, which counts everyone in work between the ages of 16 and 64, was recorded during this period was 73.2 per cent. That's 0.2 per cent higher than what was recorded between July and September 2014 and 1.2 per cent higher than between October and December a year earlier.

Last time the employment rate reached the height seen most recently was in the three months from December 2004 to February 2005 and it has not been higher since records began in 1971.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent, which is 0.3 per cent lower than the rate that was recorded between July and September 2014. It is also lower than the same time the previous year, when the rate recorded was 7.2 per cent.

The figures from the ONS on employment levels, particularly where self employment is concerned, was welcomed by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE).

Commenting on the results, chief executive of IPSE Chris Bryce said: "The steady march of the self-employed continues and the employment rate in the UK now stands at 73.2 per cent of the working population, its joint highest rate.

"It’s particularly pleasing to see the trend in women becoming their own boss, shown in last month’s Labour Market Statistics, continue apace. The rise in the number of women heading into business for themselves over the last year is a whopping fourteen times higher than that of men."

With this in mind, Mr Bryce said that the 4.5 million independent professionals need to be taken into account by political parties. He said that they must make their commitments to support self employed professionals stronger as the General Election draws nearer.

By Victoria McDonnell

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