Labour Market Statistics, June 2021

 | Institute for Employment Studies | Jun 2021

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Today’s labour market data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the jobs market is continuing to recover strongly.  PAYE employment grew by nearly 200 thousand during May; vacancies were close to their highest ever level and the headline quarterly unemployment rate has ticked down to 4.7%. This appears to be being driven by new job starts, particularly in industries that were shut down and starting to reopen, and there are signs that at last young people are starting to benefit from that recovery – accounting for nearly half of the growth in PAYE employment last month.

However, we continue to see long-term unemployment rising strongly, now breaching half a million for the first time in five years and rising across age groups; we are seeing large falls in part-time work, not explained by more people getting the hours that they want and nor entirely offset by rising full-time work; and even with recent employment growth, there remains very significant ground to make up for young people, those previously self-employed and in London. Furthermore even while increasing numbers of firms report recruitment difficulties, unemployment is still elevated – with well over two unemployed people for every vacancy, compared with around 1.6 before the crisis.

So looking ahead, with Jobcentre Plus getting back to normal running and the £7 billion investment in new employment support starting to come on stream, it will be increasingly important that we mobilise support for those out of work as quickly as possible, particularly through Jobcentre Plus and the Restart programme; target support much better at those further from work and longer-term unemployed, including by reforming and extending Kickstart to focus on jobs for long-term unemployed young people; and we work much better with employers – across services – to help them recruit, support and retain jobseekers.