Vacancies outstrip unemployed

Date : 19 May 2022

For the first time, vacancies across the UK outstripped the number of people seeking work, as the UK labour market continues to tighten.

The latest data from the ONS, through to March 2022, shows the unemployment rate continuing to trend down, decreasing by 0.1% over the quarter to 3.7% to historic lows. The unemployment rate is now at the lowest level since the mid-1970’s.

Conversely, job vacancies across the UK economy continue to rise, up to record levels, nearly 1.3 million. Demand in the labour market is now outstripping supply, the first time this has happened since records began.

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The pool of workers needed to fill these vacancies will therefore have to come from those defined as economically inactive*. This figure continues to prove persistently high at 21.4% of 16–64-year-olds, up over 1% on pre-pandemic levels.

As IGD have previously discussed, the majority of those that have left the workforce are between the ages of 50 and 64.

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The economic impact of inflation, which reached 9% in April and is expected to peak at around 10% in the Autumn may drive more individuals back into the workforce. Although at this stage this is not proving to be the case.

* Economic inactivity is defined by ONS as “people who are not in work, who have not sought work in the last 4 weeks and / or are unable to start work in the next 2 weeks”.

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