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Employment expert examines latest ONS labour market data

13 September 2023

The latest employment ONS figures for the period May 2023 to July 2023 show a market continuing to battle the ongoing challenging economic climate.  

The figures show a decrease in the employment rate when compared to the previous quarter, while the unemployment and economic inactivity rates increased.  The highlights for the period show a UK employment rate of 75.5%, 0.5% lower than the previous quarter.  The UK unemployment rate for the same period was 4.3%, 0.5% higher than the previous quarter.  
During the period June to August 2023 vacancies fell on the quarter for the 14th consecutive period, a reduction by 6% from March to May 2023 with vacancies falling across the board in 13 of the 18 industry sectors.

Discussing the latest figures, Kate Meadowcroft, employment partner and Head of the Birmingham Employment team, commented:

"Pay has caught up with rising costs for the first time in 12 months.  In May to July 2023 annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 7.8%, the same as the previous quarter and the highest regular annual growth rate since comparable records began in 2001.  According to the ONS the latest figures mean people's real pay is no longer falling.  In order to remain competitive and attract and retain the best talent many employers are having to increase pay.  Although pay is clearly a major factor, it is important not underestimate the significance of workplace culture and employee engagement as key strategies when competing for talent.

"With the political party conferences taking place next month it will be interesting to hear what policies are being drawn up which may impact the labour market."

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