Is the historic labour market boom coming to an end?

Press Releases

18 May 2016

Jim Hillage, director of research at IES, comments on today's ONS Labour Market Statistics:

'More evidence that the labour market is starting to plateau is provided by this month's statistics. Overall, employment has risen slightly, by 44,000 over the previous quarter, again driven largely by a further rise in self-employment. However, total hours worked has fallen slightly with women working fewer hours on average. Unemployment has barely changed since last quarter and the number of vacancies in the economy has fallen for the fourth year in a row. Meanwhile, earnings continue to rise fairly sluggishly at around two per cent.

'Taken with data from the last few months, the latest labour market statistics suggest that the historically unprecedented labour market boom is coming to an end. With economic indicators looking increasingly pessimistic, and given that the labour market lags the main economy, we could expect employment to start falling and unemployment rising in the second half of the year. Those at the margins of the labour market, such as young people and disabled people, are likely to be to most affected by any downturn and it will be interesting to see whether a Queen’s Speech billed as providing a programme of social reform includes measures to further help disadvantaged groups get into work.'


About Jim Hillage

Jim Hillage leads the Institute for Employment Studies’ work on UK public employment policy. He draws on over 30 years’ experience of researching into labour market and employment issues from an individual and an employer perspective, and evaluating the direct and indirect effect and impact of a range of policy interventions on employers, individuals and intermediaries.

About IES

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK’s leading independent, not-for-profit centre for research and evidence-based consultancy on employment, the labour market, and HR policy and practice.

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