ANALYSIS: Latest jobless figures nudging up
By Simon Hacker | 24th October 2023
Next week's Bank of England interest rate review is being tipped as a no-change event by analysts in the wake of perceived lethargy in the jobs market.
New figures show unemployment nudged up to 4.2% between June and August, which was a rise on the 4% on the March-to-May quarter, but a figure which represented no change from September.
The latest labour market data from the ONS indicated the estimate of payrolled employees in the UK for September 2023 is largely unchanged on the month, down 11,000 on the revised August 2023 figure, to 30.1 million.
Given the ingoing impact of inflation and increasing numbers of mortgage holders exiting protective deals, economic growth has been poor since the summer, analysts warn, with businesses seeking to take on fewer new workers.
The Bank of England will convene to rule on the rate on November 2nd but, after 14 consecutive rises since December 2021, the pattern was broken last month when Andrew Bailey, BoE Governor, acknowledged that higher rates were taking a detrimental toll on the economy.
Looking at job opportunities, market analysts at Statista say that there were approximately 988,000 job vacancies in the UK in the three months to September 2023, compared with 998,000 in the previous month's analysis.
A report said: "The number of job vacancies in the United Kingdom reached a record high of 1.3 million in the three months to May 2022, with the number of vacancies falling in every month since then. Although job vacancies have been falling consistently since the May 2022 peak, vacancies are still at very high levels."
The British Chambers of Commerce said it was disappointed at the latest ONS figures.
Jane Gratton, BCC's Deputy Director Public Policy said: "It's disappointing to see the number of economically inactive again ticking up, reversing recent trends. Employers need substantial flows of people back into job seeking and employment.
"The ONS data also shows vacancies remain well above pre-pandemic levels and wages outpacing inflation. Underneath these headline figures the skills crisis continues and the overall picture remains challenging."
She added: "The Chancellor should introduce tax breaks in the Autumn Statement to help firms invest more in training and Occupational Health benefits. We need to tackle skills shortages, keep people in work and help those who want to work back into employment."
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