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

IES News

12 Dec 2023

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

“Today’s figures suggest that the labour market is continuing to cool but isn’t crashing. Employment remains steady, unemployment is flat and there are still nearly a million vacancies in the economy. Pay growth is also still strong, at above 7%, but tends to lag other indicators and so is likely to ease up in the coming months. This is all good news given the large rises in interest rates that we’ve seen over the last year or so, but there are signs now that these rises are starting to have an effect – with vacancies now down by over a quarter from their peak in 2022, employment for young people falling over the last year, and fewer jobs in hospitality too as people cut back. There are also signs in data published last week that redundancies are rising, with nearly 40,000 people at larger firms notified that they are at risk of losing their jobs, the highest figure since the depths of the pandemic in 2020.

“Looking ahead, it’s likely that things will continue to weaken next year and while we can hope for a fairly soft landing, we should also prepare for it to be a bit more bumpy than now. There are still more people out of work than before the pandemic, and when demand weakens it tends to be those who are most disadvantaged who lose out the most. So we need to keep focusing on how we can better engage and support those out of work to fill the jobs that are still being created, and help employers to continue to grow their businesses and fill their jobs.”

Read our detailed briefing note here