For the first time since records began there are “fewer unemployed people than job vacancies,” the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced.
Job vacancies rose to a record of 1.3 million in February to April, as unemployment continued to drop to 3.7 per cent – the lowest level seen since 1974.
The number of payrolled employees grew by 121,000 between March and April to 29.5 million, ONS statistics showed, as more people chose salaried employment over self-employment in the face of an unpredictable cost of living crisis.
These labour shortages, driven by post-Covid climate and Brexit, risk driving inflation even higher, warned Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies.
While it is promising that long-term unemployment is falling, with long-term youth unemployment now at its lowest ever, Wilson cautioned that these “green shoots” are “barely making a dent on the huge falls in labour force participation since Covid.” IES now estimates that there would be 1.15 million more people in the labour force had pre-Covid trends continued uninterrupted.
“We need more people in work, not fewer,” he continued, calling for “any new package on cost of living (to) include help for those out of work to prepare for and find new/ better work”.