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REC response to latest December 2018 ONS labour statistics

REC – UK jobs market continues to tighten amidst continued Brexit uncertainty

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REC

Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of vacancies at 848,000 for September to November 2018, 10,000 more than the estimate for June to August 2018 and 40,000 more than the estimate for a year earlier.

The unemployment rate was 4.1%, virtually unchanged compared with May to July 2018 but lower than the estimate for a year earlier (4.3%). There were 1.38 million unemployed, 20,000 more than for May to July 2018 but 49,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was estimated at 75.7%, higher than for a year earlier (75.1%) and the joint-highest estimate since comparable estimates began in 1971. There were 32.48 million people in work, 79,000 more than for May to July 2018 and 396,000 more than for a year earlier.

The number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) was 8.66 million, 95,000 fewer than for May to July 2018 and 195,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy, Tom Hadley commenting on ONS figures:

“Recruiters continue to work hard with employers to fill jobs and aid future growth – but with near-record numbers of vacancies in the UK labour market (848,000 for September to November 2018), and candidate availability tight, the challenge of finding the right staff is set to intensify.

“These latest figures also don’t reflect the political uncertainties in the last week. Even before the latest turbulence, REC data showed employer confidence in the economy declining month on month – down from net: 6 in July 2018 to net: -11 in November 2018.

“Businesses need clarity regarding Brexit and a pragmatic approach to future immigration policy to deal with labour shortages. Employers are looking for reassurances from Government over our future relationship with Europe, but instead they are facing more uncertainty by the day.”