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

IES News

17 May 2022

Commenting on the figures, IES Director Tony Wilson said:

“There’s some good news in today’s figures, with record pay growth in the private sector just about keeping wages ahead of inflation, and unemployment continuing to fall to its lowest since 1974. However this is masking now the tightest labour market that we have seen in at least half a century, with more vacancies than there are unemployed people for the first time ever, and well over a million fewer people in the labour force than on pre-pandemic trends. It’s this recruitment crisis that is fuelling higher private sector pay and bonuses and is also behind recent rises in interest rates.  However rather than trying to dampen demand, we need to be doing far more to boost labour supply, which would support economic growth, raise household incomes and help contain inflation.  In fact if anything, we’re cutting investment in employment support at just the time that we should be ramping it up.

“So alongside any new measures to support household incomes through the cost of living crisis, we need urgent action too to raise participation and help people into work.  This needs to be focused on better support for older people, disabled people and those with health conditions. Employers will need to do more too, and make sure that jobs are advertised and designed in ways that are accessible and inclusive for those further from work.”

Read the detailed IES Labour Market Statistics briefing note here