The British labor market is stable despite economic turbulence

According to official data, the UK job market held up well in September even as the economy slid towards recession.

The employment rate remained flat at 75.5 percent in the three months to September, Tuesday’s figures showed, while the jobless rate of 3.6 percent remained near multi-decade lows, although it rose slightly from the previous month’s 3.5 Percent.

The Office for National Statistics said more companies are holding back on hiring due to economic pressures, but the number of job vacancies remained near an all-time high at 1,225,000 in the three months to October.

This is partly because the UK workforce remains smaller than it was before the pandemic, and the latest data on returnees who have lost their jobs shows no sign.

According to the ONS, 21.6 per cent of the working-age population was economically inactive – neither in a job nor looking for one – in the three months to September – up 1.4 percentage points from before the pandemic.

With the cost of living rising and the labor force dwindling, employers have had to offer higher wages to fill vacancies, although earnings have still not kept pace with rising prices.

According to the ONS, average total compensation growth remained steady at 6 percent in the three months to September, while regular compensation growth – excluding bonuses – accelerated to 5.6 percent. Even so, the real wage declines were still among the largest since comparable records began in 2001, the ONS said.

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor, said low unemployment was “a testament to the resilience of the UK economy” but added that inflation was “eating up paychecks and savings”.

The Chancellor made it clear in his comments over the weekend that he sees the UK’s shrinking workforce as one of the main challenges facing the economy, as it would slow economic growth while increasing wage pressures that could make inflation more resilient.

https://www.ft.com/content/6ccf6ca9-be88-4a10-b0fa-43451fc7eb70 The British labor market is stable despite economic turbulence

Adam Bradshaw

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