April Labour Market Statistics: Comment from the Institute for Employment Studies

IES News

18 Apr 2023

Commenting on today's figures, Tony Wilson, Director at the Institute for Employment Studies said:

"Today’s figures continue the trend of gradual improvement that we’ve seen over the last couple of months. But progress in the labour market is painfully slow. While in every other major economy, employment is at least as high and often much higher than it was before the pandemic, in the UK there are still over a hundred thousand fewer people in work and over three hundred thousand more people out of work.  Three years on from the start of the pandemic, it’s clearer than ever that we are being left behind by other major economies.

“The main reasons for this appear to be a mix of weak growth, more people out of work with long-term ill health, and fewer older people in work. We need to do far better on all three of these issues, particularly with more than three million people who want to work and still over a million unfilled jobs. Figures for long-term ill health are particularly worrying, rising again in the latest data to a new peak of over 2.5 million. This is being driven in particular by people staying out of work longer, rather than more people leaving work now. So we need to focus in particular on how we help those who want to work to get back in – with specialist employment support, faster access to health services and more inclusive recruitment and workplace support.”

Read the detailed IES Labour Market Statistics briefing note here.