Employment | Jobs market boom despite political uncertainty

Jobs market boom despite political uncertainty

The latest report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that despite economic and financial uncertainty, the UK employment rate is currently ranked at its highest ever percentage since records began at 76.1%.

This currently puts it on par for top place along with 1971. Estimates for April to June 2019 show 32.81million people in employment – this is 425,000 more than one year earlier. People working full-time increased by 262,000 to reach 24.11million.

The UK unemployment rate – for workers over the age of 16 years old – was estimated to sit at 3.9% by the ONS, this is lower than a year earlier which was 4.0%, whilst by quarter, the rate was 0.1% higher.

The unemployment rate isn’t the only potentially record-breaking factor from the latest statistics; the UK’s economic inactivity rate was estimated to be 20.7%, which would make it a record low. These numbers have been steadily increasing since early 2012; for April to June 2019, the estimated employment rate for men was 80.1% – this is unchanged from one year previous, yet down 0.2% on the quarter; this represents the third consecutive quarterly decrease.

However, for women, the number was 72.1% – this is the highest since records began. Whilst this may seem like a positive increase, the ONS was quick to highlight that this is largely due to changes in the state pension age for women – resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65.

“The record amount of people in employment is a huge positive for the economy and certainly something to shout about, especially in such a time of political uncertainty,” stated Lee Biggins, CEO of CV-Library. “However, our own data has suggested that while applications for new jobs are up year-on-year, since June, application growth has increased by a minimal 0.3%, despite there being a 13.3% increase in job vacancies on offer.  

“This begs the question; will the UK job market's steady growth continue? With the announcement of Boris Johnson as our new Prime Minister, the chances of forcing a no-deal Brexit have sky-rocketed. What’s more, employers are unlikely to accelerate their hiring efforts until our European future is confirmed at the end of October.

"With businesses and candidates alike feeling nervous about our future outside the EU, the pressure is on to maintain sky-high levels of employment." 

Michael McLaughlin, Head of the Employment Practice at global legal business DWF, explained: "With the UK employment rate at 76.1%, the high rate of employment contrasts with the fact that in the last quarter, the UK's economy shrunk for the first time since 2012. It appears as though impending Brexit decisions are slowing down the economy as businesses collectively shut their eyes, hold their breath and hope for the best. Depending on decisions made over the coming months, these record-high employment figures could well be short-lived. Factoring in the potential reduction to the gig economy and the possible loss of immigration workers in the service sector.

"Moreover, although employment rates are high, growth in wages is still slow and has been for years. Businesses are just paying more employees less money," he concluded.

Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Be the first to comment.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.