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CIPD responds to ONS Labour Market Statistics

Commenting on today’s ONS Labour Market figures, Ian Brinkley, Acting Chief Economist at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:

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“These are positive figures overall, reflecting a resilient labour market. The further fall in unemployment for young people is encouraging, but there are some less positive underlying trends.

“Firstly, the number of migrants in work continues to edge down, especially those coming into the UK from the A8 countries, suggesting that continuing uncertainty about the future status of EU citizens in the UK is already having an impact.

“Secondly, average earnings growth on regular pay has slowed, suggesting that real wages are falling as inflation increases. This could be a sign that some employers are seeking to offset the impact of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and increases to the National Living Wage next month through lower basic pay awards. With less chance of a pay rise and money not going as far when paying for the weekly shop and bills, UK workers will need to watch their spending carefully.

“Thirdly, it looks as though employment growth is becoming increasingly polarised, with only full-time permanent employment and self-employment showing any net growth. This could be due to squeezed wages forcing workers to look for more hours, or the impact of a slowdown in hiring by sectors traditionally offering part-time roles, like retail and the public sector. If this trend continues, it may reduce employment options for some people in the future.”