Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC response to ONS labour market stats, February 2023

The ONS has published its latest labour market update this morning. Commenting on the statistics, Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of REC, said:

“This is a very steady set of job figures and further evidence of the UK’s robust labour market – which is good news, given the global levels of uncertainty right now. But when both productivity and economic inactivity are not improving from pre-pandemic levels, we must focus on the fixes.

“Recruiters and business groups still warn that labour shortages are holding back economic growth. Only by working together can employers and government hope to draw more people, from a range of backgrounds, into the labour force.

“Next month’s Spring Budget is the opportunity for government to provide further stability, clarity and much needed support so that the economy can thrive despite the now stubborn labour shortages. Improving childcare support and provision to enable more parents to work and older workers such as grandparents to stay in work is vital, as is reinvigorating welfare to work schemes. Where investment is needed, the government should keep in mind that the return will be far greater over the medium and long-term, helping to save money and boost growth. A failure to address shortages will only constrain growth and feed inflation.”