Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of vacancies at 853,000 for October to December 2018, 10,000 more than for July to September 2018, 39,000 more than for a year earlier and the joint-highest estimate since comparable records began in 2001.
The unemployment rate was estimated at 4.0%, the lowest since December 1974 to February 1975. There were an estimated 1.37 million unemployed people, little changed compared with June to August 2018 but 68,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The employment rate was at 75.8%, higher than for a year earlier (75.3%) and the highest since comparable estimates began in 1971. There were an estimated 32.53 million people in work, 141,000 more than for June to August 2018 and 328,000 more than for a year earlier.
Average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 1.1% excluding bonuses, and by 1.2% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy Tom Hadley commenting on ONS figures:
“Despite the ongoing political turbulence, employers are continuing to hire. Today’s data shows a joint-record number of vacancies, underlining the fact that the supply of staff remains a major challenge and a threat to business growth.
“Reassuring people from the EU working across a range of sectors in the UK must remain a priority, with yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister to scrap EU citizens’ settled status fee sending out a much needed positive message.
“However the politics play out over the coming weeks and months, employers will need to continue innovating in how they hire and attract staff to fill vacancies. Recruitment professionals will play a pivotal role in finding new ways of meeting workforce challenges in high-demand sectors, ranging from engineering and healthcare to hospitality, construction and logistics”.