UK job market 'still in good health' despite dip in number of people in work

Today (15th October) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported there was a slight fall month-on-month in employment levels but the CIPD and others seem unfazed as they are still “just below record levels.”

The ONS stated that unemployment rate rose to 3.9 per cent in the June-to-August 2019 period from 3.8 per cent resulting in 56,000 less people in jobs. As well as the ONS saying employment growth has “cooled noticeably”.

Jon Boys, labour market economist, at the CIPD, does not believe these results are that negative.

Mr Boys said:

Today’s statistics will certainly prompt more speculation that the labour market has reached its high-water mark.

Employment numbers may be down on the last period, but it’s worth repeating that they remain just below record levels.

Earnings growth have also dipped this month, yet it’s continuing to beat inflation across a broad spectrum of industries. The labour market is still in good health.

Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half, a specialised recruitment consultancy shares Mr Boys opinion, however, he does note training and development opportunities are the clear solution to remedy this situation.

Mr Weston said:

As the no-deal or deal talks continue around Brexit, unemployment remains at near record-lows despite a month-on-month fall in employment levels. However, increased digitalisation and the skills gap remain high on boardroom agendas as companies look to compete on the global stage in the coming years.

Training and development opportunities, and continued upskilling efforts, remain the obvious solution in the long-term. But companies should be prepared to adopt a flexible approach to their hiring strategy by tapping into the pool of highly-skilled interim professionals if they are to be adequately prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library a UK job board attributes this dip to Brexit and the uncertainty it has brought.

Mr Biggins said:

As we approach the 31 with no real idea or plan regarding our departure from the European Union, uncertainty is starting to take its toll on the job market. Indeed, the statistics released this morning by ​the ONS reveal that employment has weakened on the quarter, with 56,000 less people in work. What’s more, the economic inactivity rate has also risen ​since the previous quarter, ​suggesting more job seekers are opting to stay put until Brexit is sorted.

It’s likely that this trend will continue, especially after hopes for greater clarity regarding Brexit were dashed yesterday following the Queen’s speech. The prospect of an uncertain future is forcing undue pressure on the UK’s economy, and it certainly won’t relinquish until the Government’s intentions are made clear.