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Cautious optimism for UK jobs market

18 May 2021
Joanne Frew, Global Deputy Head of Employment & Pensions at legal business, DWF comments on the ONS employment data published today. 
Joanne said: "The latest ONS figures show an estimated UK unemployment rate of 4.8% between January and March 2021, 0.3% lower than the previous quarter. The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.2%, 1.4% lower than before the pandemic but 0.2% higher than the previous quarter.  The steadying of the figures comes at a time when the UK was subject to severe restrictions, however the Government's roadmap to ease lockdown announced in February 2021 will undoubtedly have given the labour market some confidence.  

"As expected the total hours worked decreased on the quarter with the reintroduction of many coronavirus restrictions. Previous ONS figures have showed an increased take up of full furlough as the UK entered the third lockdown in January 2021.  

"There are some further positive signs as the redundancy rate decreased on the quarter to 5.5 people per thousand employees. The expectation is that this figure will continue to improve as the economy re-opens, however the true test will be in September when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end.

"As further restrictions were relaxed on Monday, we predict with cautious optimism that the labour market will continue to improve in the short term. If the UK can stay on track with the four point plan the hope is that the economy will recover sufficiently to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme coming to an end, resulting in medium term stability of the labour market."

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