Labour market analysis, February 2024

Responding to the labour market stats release by ONS on 13 February 2024.


13 02 2024


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Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said:
Labour market data, now based on new population estimates, is likely to be volatile due to low Labour Force Survey response rates. This makes interpretation difficult, but most measures suggest some easing in the labour market: the employment rate is down a little on the year, average earnings growth is easing, and vacancies are falling. The good news is that the labour market remains strong, with real earnings rising as inflation falls. But with employment still below pre-pandemic levels and economic inactivity higher due to long-term sickness, the scope to grow the economy by increasing the labour force remains.
Dr Helen Gray, chief economist at Learning and Work Institute, said:
It’s very welcome to see ONS return to publishing a wider set of labour market statistics today. However, recent revisions have introduced a discontinuity in the series from the July to September quarter of 2022 onwards. This makes it difficult to assess changes in the state of the labour market over time across the full range of indicators. The revisions suggest that the numbers economically inactive are even higher than previously thought, with around 1.9 million of the economically inactive wanting a job. This further highlights the need to extend employment support from those meeting the official definition of unemployment to the wider pool of people who want to work.

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