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ONS Labour Market data - "jobseekers and low-paid workers locked in a race to determine who will be the biggest loser from uncertainty" - reaction from global job site Indeed

Mariano Mamertino, economist at the world's biggest job site, Indeed, comments:

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“It’s an honour neither wants – but jobseekers and low-paid workers are now locked in a race to determine who will be the biggest loser from Britain’s economic uncertainty.

“This latest ONS data paints a reassuring picture of the jobs market in the final months before the referendum, with unemployment edging down and the number of people in work rising.

“But it fails to adequately capture the chilling effect that pre-referendum nerves had on employers - which led many to defer hiring decisions and halt pay rises.

“Average wages rose by just 2.3% in the year to June. With inflation creeping up in June and again in July, low earners’ real wage growth risks failing to keep up with the cost of living.

“While unemployment continued to fall in the second quarter of the year, jobseekers in many sectors are competing for fewer jobs. The July edition of the Indeed Industry Employment Trends, which tracks the numbers of jobs advertised in 13 employment sectors, recorded a fall across the board.

“Job postings have declined steadily since February, and by July the number of jobs advertised in education and property were down almost a third on the same time last year.

“At just 0.6%, inflation isn’t high by any means. But with such meagre levels of wage growth it could soon become high enough to cramp consumer spending – which risks triggering a self-reinforcing cycle of pay restraint and falling demand.

“These ONS figures focus on the months leading up to the Brexit referendum, so are already a touch sepia-tinted. But the employer uncertainty that underpins them didn’t go away after the result, it increased. So it’s likely that the first set of post-referendum data will show the full impact of the fall in confidence on the labour market.”