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

IES News

15 Feb 2022

Commenting on the figures, IES Director Tony Wilson said:

“Supply simply can’t keep up with the demand in the labour market at the moment. Despite vacancies hitting another record high, employment is still stuck more than half a million below pre-pandemic levels, with low unemployment appearing to be the result of people leaving the labour market entirely. As a result this is now the tightest labour market in at least fifty years, with nearly as many vacancies as there are unemployed. These trends are being driven in particular by older people leaving work.  There are now nearly six hundred thousand fewer older people in the labour market than on the eve of the pandemic, falls which dwarf anything that we have seen in at least thirty years. Overall, four fifths of the fall in labour force participation is due to fewer older people in the labour market.

"These labour shortages are now holding back our recovery and will make the living standards crisis worse. At the Budget next month we need action to raise participation and tackle this recruitment crisis, particularly for older people and those further from work.”

Read the detailed IES Labour Market Statistics briefing note here