December’s report covers employment market activity from September to November 2019. The data reveals trends which may help recruiters’ strategies for 2020.
The big political football remains the rates of employment and unemployment. The UK employment rate for the end of 2019 stood at 76.2 per cent – 0.4 per cent higher than for the same period in 2018. There was, however, little change on the previous quarter.
At the same time, unemployment stayed relatively unchanged, at 3.8 per cent. The strong unemployment figures of 2019 are around one third of a per cent (0.3%) below those of the previous twelve months.
These figures can help or hinder political parties when making arguments, but they are perhaps less significant to recruiters.
Of more immediate importance to the recruitment industry is the rate of job creation. And this month’s ONS report finds a continuation in the fall of vacancies. In the months September-November
The results were pre-empted by last week’s news, which told a similarly uncertain tale. Those figures, from the private sector, found that job creation fell at the fastest rate for more than ten years.
Elsewhere, earnings increases slowed. Regular salaries (excluding bonuses) rose by 3.5 per cent in nominal terms. This works out at 1.8 per cent wage growth, when adjusted for inflation.
Economic inactivity (which records those not in work and not actively seeking work ) was estimated to be 20.8 per cent. This figure shows little change on the previous quarter, and a 0.2 per cent fall over the previous year.
While the report does not reveal any stark down-trends or reversals of fortune, the protracted slowdown has raised concerns.
The falling rate of job creation was highest among the points that some recruiters found troubling. UK Recruiter said that the data “fails to bring much cheer” for recruiters over the Christmas period.