A whole bunch of number crunching has been going on at the ONS

A whole bunch of number crunching has been going on at the ONS

The latest labour market figures have been released and while some results are encouraging, the figures also suggest that UK businesses are facing a worsening skills gap.

For September to November 2015, 74.0 percent of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, the highest employment rate since comparable records began in 1971.

The unemployment rate for September to November 2015 was 5.1 percent, down from 5.8 percent a year earlier.

The UK employment rate, for the three months ending November 2015, was highest in the South East (77.9 percent) and lowest in Northern Ireland (68.8 percent).

Yet despite the overall rise in job creation, the vacancy rate continues to increase, and is particularly acute in specialist areas such as IT and engineering. The ONS found that there has been a six percent increase in the number of unfilled roles and that there are now 756,000 vacancies.

Another area to highlight is the continuing struggle older workers are facing to find work. Although unemployment is falling in the 18-24 age bracket, an age group that used to boast woeful figures, the unemployment numbers for the over fifties have not improved for over a year. This is partly because of the increasing numbers of people in the 50+age group, but it is also a reminder that older workers can find it difficult to find another job if they become unemployed.