UK labour market remains strong

Date : 14 December 2022

ONS has issued new data on the state of the UK labour market.

The market remains strong, but there are signs that it is now being impacted by economic pressure. October’s GDP figures indicate that UK economic activity fell by 0.3% in the three months to October.

Unemployment remains low, but is beginning to rise, up 0.1% in October.  Job vacancies continue their downward trend but remain high compared to pre-pandemic levels.  High levels of vacancies suggest that businesses remain unable to recruit adequate staff to produce at their full capacity.


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The number of economically inactive people in the UK fell slightly but remains stubbornly high. This group expanded rapidly during the COVID pandemic and there is currently no sign that inactive persons are moving back into the labour market. High economic inactivity may be one reason why unemployment is so low at present.

(Economic inactivity refers to people of working age who do not have a job and are not actively searching for one. Unemployment refers to those who do not have a job but are actively seeking one).

The key driver of growing inactivity is long-term ill-health, suggesting that “long COVID” may be a key factor limiting labour availability, along with other medical conditions which remain unresolved due to pressures on healthcare.

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