Joanne Frew, Head of employment law at legal business, DWF comments on the ONS employment figures published today. She said:
"The latest ONS labour market figures show continued signs of improvement. The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.1% between April and June 2021, 0.3% higher than the previous quarter. Further, the unemployment rate was estimated at 4.7%, 0.2% lower than the previous quarter. The figures continue to demonstrate a relatively robust labour market.
"The latest figures represent a period when the UK was still subject to a number of restrictions. The impact of the full easing of restrictions from 19 July 2021 has yet to be reflected in the labour market figures. The combination of the lifting of lockdown restrictions, the roll out of the vaccination programme and the easing of isolation rules as of 16 August 2021 should all help contribute to a resilient labour market.
"The redundancy rate decreased on the quarter and has returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, the true test will be at the end of September 2021 when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is withdrawn. The question will be whether the two-month period with no restrictions has been sufficient for employers to build momentum and limit job losses.
"Employers will inevitably face further challenges and opportunities as we enter the autumn, from sickness absence to new ways of working. Those that have been able to diversify and adapt to the unprecedented period of change will find themselves in the strongest position."
New data shows Scotland labour market is relatively robust
Ann Frances Cooney, an employment law partner at DWF leading the Scottish employment law practice, comments on today's Labour Market Trends. She said:
"The estimated unemployment rate in Scotland was 4.3%, down 0.1% over the quarter April to June 2021. By way of comparison Scotland's unemployment rate was below the UK rate of 4.7%. The estimated employment rate in Scotland was 74.2%, a reduction of 0.1% over the quarter. Scotland's employment rate was below the UK rate of 75.1%. The figures demonstrate a relatively robust labour market.
"We can expect the labour market figures to continue to steady and improve in Scotland with almost 3.5 million people fully vaccinated, the removal of nearly all restrictions and a relaxation of the isolation rules.
"With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme drawing to a close at the end of September 2021, it is hoped that the opening up of the country will provide sufficient economic prosperity to reduce the need for redundancies when the government support is withdrawn."