Labour market remains strong in early post-referendum period, but watch this space...

Press Releases

14 Sep 2016

Nigel Meager, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, comments on today's ONS Labour Market Statistics:

'The latest employment statistics from ONS cover the three-month period up to the end of July, so include some data from the early weeks following the EU referendum in late June.

'There is, however, as yet no evidence in these data of the labour market reacting in anticipation of Brexit. The figures remain very strong, with the employment rate again at its highest since records began (nearly 75%), and unemployment the lowest for over ten years (4.9%). Both self-employed and employee jobs continue to increase.

'The employer nervousness about Brexit anticipated by some commentators has yet to show up in any real fall in hiring activity: the level of unfilled vacancies has remained flat at around three quarters of a million for most of 2016 (following continuous growth in the period since 2010).

'However, these are still very early days, and one possible indicator of a shift which will come through in subsequent months, can be seen in the single month employment estimates for July issued by ONS at the same time. These should be treated with caution as a single month’s data are not ‘official statistics’, being based on a smaller sample size. However, it is notable that unlike the three months’ data for May-July, the July estimates taken alone show a fall in employment of 105,000 over the month, which would be consistent with the first signs of a Brexit effect coming through. If so, the next few sets of official employment data from ONS could be more interesting.' 


About the Institute for Employment Studies

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.

IES tweets from @EmploymtStudies

About Nigel Meager

Nigel is a labour economist by training, and a well-established international expert on labour market and employment policy issues. He has worked at IES since 1984, following posts at the Universities of Bath and Glasgow. He has been Director of the Institute since 2004. He has a long and varied research track record covering the functioning of national, regional and local labour markets, unemployment, skill shortages, labour market flexibility, changing patterns of work and equal opportunity policies and practices.