The unemployment rate was 4.1%, slightly higher than for April to June 2018 but lower than for a year earlier (4.3%). There were 1.38 million unemployed people, 21,000 more than for April to June 2018 but 43,000 fewer than for a year earlier. There were 32.41 million people in work, 23,000 more compared with April to June 2018 and 350,000 more than for a year earlier.
Comparing the estimates for employment by nationality (not seasonally adjusted) for July to September 2018 with those for a year earlier, EU nationals working in the UK fell by 132,000 to 2.25 million (the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997). Non-EU nationals working in the UK increased by 34,000 to 1.24 million.
Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy, Tom Hadley commenting on ONS figures:
“Although unemployment has slightly increased, employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need. We already have record numbers of vacancies, and the signs are that these skills shortages will further intensify over the next few months as EU workers no longer find the UK an attractive place to work.
“UK businesses will need to work with recruitment partners to innovate and review current hiring strategies – particularly, with regards to reaching out to under-represented groups. At the same time, the case for a pragmatic, evidence-based immigration strategy that reflects staffing needs across all sectors has never been clearer. It is critical that there is a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU post-Brexit, so firms have the capacity to invest and grow here in the UK.”