Economics: Labour market strengthens further

Date : 18 May 2021

The labour market in the UK continues to show signs of improvement. The number of redundancies in February 2021 was the lowest since Summer 2020 and the number of unfilled vacancies was still rising in March.

Unemployment eased slightly, moving from 4.9% in January to 4.8% in February. Unemployment for the vulnerable 18-24 year old group fell from 12.8% to 12.0% over the same period.

Numbers of young people (16-24 years) not in education, employment or training (NEET) have remained stable at around 12% of the total.

This is in contrast to the economic crisis which followed the Credit Crunch, when number of NEETs rose sharply. It is possible that more young adults have remained in education than previously, but complete ONS data on student numbers is not yet available for 2020-21.

Foodservice and accommodation businesses have been hit especially hard by “lockdown” measures, but there are now signs of improvement.

In March 2021 – the latest month for which we have data – there were 45,000 unfilled foodservice vacancies, compared with just 8,000 in May 2020.

Based on anecdotal evidence, IGD anticipates that, with indoor foodservice and hospitality now open – albeit at reduced capacity in many venues – the number of unfilled vacancies in this area will be seen to rise rapidly in April and May.

redundancies and vacancies charts
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vacancies foodservice and accommodation chart
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