Labour Market Statistics, August 2021

 | Institute for Employment Studies  | Aug 2021

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This briefing note sets out analysis of the Labour Market Statistics published this morning. The analysis mainly draws on Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information data. The former is the main household survey that collects official figures on employment, unemployment and economic inactivity, with the most recent data covering the period April to June 2021. PAYE data are administrative payroll figures on employee levels and pay, covering the period to July 2021. This is supplemented with analysis from the ONS Vacancy Survey, which collects employer data on open vacancies and also includes data up to July 2021.

This month’s Labour Force Survey data contain additional, quarterly analysis on a number of areas including labour market flows, employment for disabled people and ethnic minority groups, temporary employment and zero hours contracts.

Today's figures show that the recovery continued to gain momentum through the spring as restrictions eased.  Employment is up, unemployment is down, and there are now more than a million vacancies in the economy for the first time on record.  At the same time, nearly two million people started a new job between April and June (including more than one third of all of those who were unemployed in the previous quarter), comfortably the highest figures ever.

Nonetheless, economic inactivity remains elevated – particularly driven by more students and by people out of work due to ill health – and the employment ‘gaps’ for disabled people, ethnic minorities and older workers are not narrowing even as demand outstrips supply. 

As the labour market continues to tighten, we will need to increasingly shift our focus to helping to bring more people back into the labour market, and to supporting those still out of work to take up new jobs.