eBoss evaluates job market trends in the final ONS report before the effects of coronavirus are revealed.
The most recent ONS labour market overview covers the period of December 2019 to February 2020. This report effectively ends the trend lines of the job market prior to COVID-19. As lockdown began in the UK within the first half of March, subsequent reports are likely to reveal the impact of measures used to combat the effects of pandemic.
• READ MORE: How COVID-19 is changing the way we work & recruit
It is no small irony that, just prior to the pandemic, employment in the UK hit a new all-time high. UK employment from December 2019 to February 2020 was estimated to stand at 76.6%. That is 0.4 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier. It is also a 0.2 per cent increase on the previous quarter.
The rate of unemployment was estimated at 4.0% for the period. This represents a small (o.1 per cent) increase on the previous quarter. In fact, unemployment remained relatively stable throughout the twelve months up to February 2020.
The number of unfilled positions came down slightly in the quarter-year to February 2020. There were 795,000 vacancies in the UK during the period of study. That is 6,000 fewer than in the previous report, and around 52,000 fewer than twelve months earlier.
Wages increased in real terms by 1.2 per cent in total pay; 1.3 per cent in regular pay excluding bonuses.
Job market trends
This week’s data represents the final stages of job market trends in the UK before the outbreak of the coronavirus. It provides a snapshot of recruitment and working prior to the pandemic. Future reports should reveal some of the impacts of the pandemic – and measures taken to combat its spread.
However, the ONS revealed earlier in April that future reporting on the jobs market may be limited, for the time being. On April 21st, the Office For National Statistics posted: “The effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on our capacity means we have reviewed the existing labour market releases and will be suspending some publications.”