Unemployment falls by 0.2%
According to the ONS’s latest labour market overview, the UK employment rate remained largely unchanged for July to September 2022 was 75.5%, and 1.1% lower than before the COVID-19 (December 2019 to February 2020). The data revealed that over the latest three-month period, the number of employees decreased, while self-employed workers increased.
Payrolled employees for October 2022 shows another monthly increase, up 74,000 on the revised September 2022 figures, to a record 29.8 million whilst the unemployment rate fell by 0.2% for July to September.
The big news of the week has been confirmed with the report stating that economic inactivity rate increased by 0.2% on the quarter to 21.6% in July to September 2022. During the latest three-month period, the increase in economic inactivity was driven by those who are long-term sick, who increased to a record high. In a recent article published by the ONS explored the economically inactive because of long-term sickness in more detail. It showed that over two-thirds of those becoming long-term sick in 2021 and 2022 were already economically inactive for another reason in the three months before interview.
Vacancies for August to October 2022, fell by 46,000 on the quarter to 1,225,000 but despite four consecutive quarterly falls, the number of vacancies remain at historically high levels. An increasing number of businesses are now reporting holding back recruitment because of economic pressures.
According to the report, growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 6.0% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 5.7% among employees in July to September 2022. This is the strongest growth in regular pay seen outside of the coronavirus pandemic period.
Average regular pay growth for the private sector was 6.6% in July to September 2022, and 2.2% for the public sector. Outside of the height of the coronavirus pandemic period, this is the largest growth seen for the private sector and the largest difference between the private sector and public sector.
In real terms (adjusted for inflation) over the year, total pay fell by 2.6% and regular pay fell by 2.7%. This is slightly smaller than the record fall in real regular pay reported in April to June 2022 (3.0%), but remains among the largest falls in growth since comparable records began in 2001.
Joanne Frew, Global Head of Employment & Pensions at DWF commented: “The latest ONS figures show a steady labour market despite the UK’s ongoing economic struggles. The UK economy is certainly facing a challenging period with soaring inflation and the Bank of England warning that the UK could be set for its longest recession since records began. The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is due to deliver his Autumn Statement on Thursday 17 November and has already warned that tax rises are necessary to help tackle inflation. Against this backdrop it is likely that the labour market will face a relatively turbulent time. Despite the ongoing resilience of the market during the pandemic, it is likely that the economic difficulties will lead to more job losses over the coming months.”
Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared said: “Despite Big Tech recently putting a freeze on their recruitment plans or even shedding jobs, today’s ONS jobs figures show that UK Tech continues to buck this global trend by adding a further 92,000 jobs over the last quarter, and firmly cementing itself as the UK’s standout private sector job creator over the last three years – with almost 350,000 additional jobs created.
“This performance is even more startling when you consider that we’ve lost over three quarters of a million private sector jobs over the same three-year period in the UK.
Despite the downturn, there is little sign of a tech slowdown. Tech investment in the UK is expected to hit its third highest level for more than 15 years and over half (56%) of digital leaders running tech departments in the UK plan to increase their technology headcount this year.”
Lauren Thomas, Glassdoor’s UK Economist also commented: “As news of tech layoffs spreads, Glassdoor’s data shows that employees are increasingly anxious with discussion of layoffs doubling and mentions of recession up tenfold from last October. Hiring has also taken a hit, with mentions of hiring freezes up more than 450 percent.
“However, this isn’t 2008. Unlike the Great Recession, the current shortage of workers is much more acute and even a potential recession would be unlikely to result in the same peak of unemployment as we saw then. There are reasons to be hopeful – vacancies are likely to remain higher and both redundancies and unemployment are lower than before the pandemic.”