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

IES News

14 Dec 2021

Commenting on today’s Labour Market Statistics, IES Director Tony Wilson said:

“On the face of it, today’s figures are some rare good news for the government, with unemployment now dropping fast towards pre-crisis levels, employment rising and more than twice as many vacancies as there were last Christmas.  But beneath the headlines there is plenty here that will be concerning the government and Bank of England.  Despite record vacancies and the tightest labour market in our lifetimes, the number of people out of work and not looking for work is rising, perhaps pushed up by people leaving the labour market entirely at the end of furlough.  We estimate that there’s now one million fewer people in the jobs market than there would have been on pre-crisis trends, with more than half of this explained by fewer older people in work.  At the same time, the number of people out of work due to ill health has hit its highest since 2005, at 2.5 million.  As we said last month, these problems just won’t fix themselves.  And with the prospect of tighter covid restrictions in the new year, the government needs to be planning now for more support to help people get back into work as well as to protect those jobs that may be at risk in a Plan C lockdown.”

Read the detailed IES Labour Market Statistics briefing note here