Sunday, June 23, 2024

Unemployment rises and job vacancies fall in UK labour market data | Portfolio Adviser

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The latest quarterly unemployment rate in the UK for people aged 16 and over came in above estimates, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, standing at 4.4%. This is also an increase over the last quarter.

This month’s figures, which the ONS urges to be treated with “additional caution” due to a smaller sample size, also found that job vacancies decreased by 12,000 to 904,000 from March to May 2024. This marks the 23rd consecutive period of falling vacancies, but the number remains above pre-pandemic levels.  

The ‘early estimate’ for payrolled employees during May fell by 3,000 which, when rounded, accounts for a 0% drop. However, payrolled employees increased by 0.6% – or 167,000 – on the year to 30.3 million.

See also: UK CPI inches towards BoE goal with 2.3% increase to April

Elsewhere, the estimated UK employment rate from February to the end of April stood at 74.3%, below estimates from a year ago and a decrease from the last quarter.

Over the same period, the economic activity rate for those aged between 16 and 64 was stood at 22.3%, which is an increase over the quarter and above last year’s estimates.

However, annual growth in employees’ regular earnings increased by 6% from February to the end of April, with growth in total earnings including bonuses coming in at 5.9&. Adjusted for inflation, regular pay increased by 2.3% over the period, while total pay was up by 2.2%.

See also: UK investment giants: British ISA proposals could fall foul of Consumer Duty

Commenting on the data, Richard Carter, head of fixed interest research at Quilter Cheviot, said the UK labour market still remains in “fairly robust shape” and that “earnings remain strong” as we head into the general election.

“The Bank of England will be incredibly cautious to cut rates at a period when spending power is high for consumers and potentially triggering a fresh inflationary bout. As such, today’s data will continue to put a dampener on a rate cut in June or August, with November remaining the likeliest date to see that first fall,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how the labour market progresses given we are likely to see a change in government in little under four weeks’ time. Labour has committed to creating a huge number of ‘green jobs’ as it looks to accelerate the energy transition, but with the data showing things are still finely balanced, whether or not this can be achieved remains to be seen.”

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