DWF employment expert comments on latest UK labour market stats

13th June 2024, 8:58 pm

The latest labour market figures demonstrate the economic challenges faced by employers with the number of vacancies still falling and unemployment rising.  However, pay levels remain relatively strong.  Facing increased pressure the UK employment rate was estimated at 74.3% in February to April 2023, below estimates of a year ago, and decreased in the latest quarter.  Over the same period the UK unemployment rate was estimated at 4.4%, above estimates of a year ago, and increased in the latest quarter.

Between March and May 2024, the estimated number of vacancies in the UK decreased by 12,000 on the quarter to 904,000.  This is the 23rd consecutive decrease.

Annual growth in employees’ average regular earnings in Great Britain was 6% in February to April 2024, and annual growth in total earnings was 5.9%.

The cooling of the labour market is perhaps unsurprising against the backdrop of an ongoing difficult economic climate.  As we enter the summer months, we can expect some buoyancy as seasonal jobs create a spike in employment.  Jobs in hospitality are also likely to increase with major sporting events such as the Euros and the Olympic games.

We of course now also have a date for the General Election.  With opinion polls suggesting a change in government is likely and Labour’s pledge to create a raft of enhanced employment protection, including unfair dismissal as a day one right, we may see some caution from employers when recruiting.

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