REC response to the ONS labour market statistics, September 2019

The latest labour market figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the continued strength of the UK’s jobs market, with the employment rate at a joint-record high of 76.1%. The unemployment rate was 3.8%, the lowest since October to December 1974.

However, the number of vacancies continues to fall, and now stands at 812,000 – 33,000 fewer than a year earlier.

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, commented:

“The UK’s labour market has been a key part of our economic success, and as today’s figures show, it remains in a strong position with a joint-record high rate of employment. But we cannot take this for granted. Business confidence is low, vacancy numbers are down and our own data shows that the continued uncertainty is starting to have an effect on placements. The government must rule out a no-deal Brexit and help businesses carry on creating jobs and opportunity for people all over the UK.

“It was good to see the expansion of the Shortage Occupation List, meaning businesses will find it easier to hire some skilled personnel from abroad. However, government must also acknowledge that we need lower-skilled and lower-paid workers to secure the UK’s future prosperity – not just the brightest and the best.”