The UK has the lowest number of job seekers on record for every job posting.

Labor market statistics released this morning by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirm that the UK labor market now has the lowest number of unemployed per job vacancy since surveys began in 2001.

This is the key measure used to assess the balance between demand and supply of labor.

This means that about 1 in 27 of all jobs are vacant.


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In June-August 2021, there were 1.45 unemployed per vacant position, with job vacancies continuing to set new records as unemployment fell.

At the height of the pandemic crisis, from April to June 2020, this figure was 4.1 unemployed per vacant position; whereas before the crisis, in data going back to 1971, the figure had never been less than 1.5.

Between July and September of this year, job vacancies reached 1.1 million.

The UK unemployment rate has also fallen to around 4.5%, from 5% before the pandemic.

Much recent attention has focused on labor shortages in certain sectors, but these figures show that the problem is not industry-specific.

The Institute for Employment Studies has estimated that the UK now has a ‘workforce gap’ of 900,000 between the number of people currently in the labor market and what one would expect in the workforce. the basis of pre-crisis trends. It indicates that this is due to a significant drop in the participation of older and young people, as well as still large employment gaps for people with disabilities and people with health problems.

Commenting on the new numbers, Julian Jessop, an economics researcher at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a free market think tank, said:

“Today’s good jobs data should help allay fears that the UK will return to recession, although it also makes the argument that interest rates still owe more difficult. be kept to an emergency minimum of only 0.1%.

“The UK economy continues to create jobs at a rapid pace, with the number of salaried jobs increasing another 207,000 in September. The broader Labor Force Survey employment measure (which includes self-employment) is lagging behind, but sustained demand for workers and record vacancies suggest it will soon catch up.

“Principal salary growth predictably slowed as distortions from the pandemic faded, but the ONS estimates that the underlying rate of regular pay increased to between 4.1% and 5%. , 6%. This is a decent increase in real terms – for now. However, price inflation is also expected to accelerate, probably around 5%, and low-income households in particular are facing a difficult winter. ”

Liberal Democrats at the Treasury spokeswoman Christine Jardine sharply criticized the government in light of the numbers, saying:

“It’s the calm before the storm. Without urgent action to protect jobs in hard-hit sectors, we face a growing winter of labor shortages and families suffering from the cost of living crisis.

“We must not let ourselves be lulled into a false sense of security. The government must abandon its ideological immigration policies to deal with severe labor shortages.

“And in the long term, we need a serious investment in skills to build an economy for Britain after the pandemic.”

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