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Changing Employer Hiring Activity Throughout the Year Across the Country

In our last Shedding Light on the Labour Market, we looked at employer job postings since the initial Lockdown restrictions were lifted in June, in terms of demand for particular occupations. In this piece, we again look at job postings, but this time from the perspective of regional employer demand. We do this using our Job Posting Analytics (JPA), which harvests employer hiring from across tens of thousands of job boards across the country. Whilst by no means a perfect measure of employer demand, it does give us a good sense of where hiring activity is taking place.

The interactive chart below shows job posting volumes for the nine English Government Office Regions, along with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, from January to October. There are a number of aspects that are common to all. For example, there is growth from January to February, which is to be expected as hiring activity tends to take a while to kick in after the New Year. There is then a noticeable slump from March to May/June, during the initial Lockdown period, and this is followed by a rise in the months following across all areas.

There are a number of differences, however, which are very noteworthy. Although hiring activity has picked up in London, it is still lower than at the start of the year with 527,325 postings in January compared to 462,842 in October — nearly 65,000 fewer postings. The only other region which had fewer postings in October than in January is the South West (around 3,500 fewer).

On the other hand, there are a number of regions where despite the slump from March to May/June, postings are actually higher now than they were in January. Most noteworthy is the North West, which has seen monthly job postings grow from 192,433 in January to 277,613 in October — an increase of 85,180:

We can see these relative changes more clearly by looking at percentage growth in postings throughout the year, which we’ve done in the chart below. This can be sorted by Scores or Rank, which you can change by clicking on the respective button at the top, and you can also highlight any line you want to see more clearly by hovering your cursor over it.

Sorting the chart by Scores first, we can see the slump in postings from March to May/June for all regions very clearly, but what we see after that is decent increase, with the North West and Wales in particular showing really good growth after the initial Lockdown, finishing 44% and 43% higher than January respectively. We can also see how London has been far slower to recover than the other regions.

Sorting the chart by Rank, we can again see the North West doing well, rising from 7th place in February to 1st in May and then again in October. London is very interesting. It rises from 10th to 2nd place between February and April, only to then drop relentlessly over the next few months. When we also consider that London has seen the highest take up rate for Furlough of any region, and that the London commuter belt has seen the highest increases in Claimant Counts, it may suggest that employer confidence has taken the hardest hit in the capital:

Watch out for the next piece in this regular series on 18th November. 

To find out more about how the crisis is affecting your local area, contact Emsi for more info.

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