19 March 2019
According to the ONS, the UK labour market continued to defy gravity in the beginning of 2019 against a backdrop of tepid economic growth and heightened uncertainty.
The employment rate rose again to a new record high, with the unemployment rate at another record low.
The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%. Meanwhile the number of vacancies was little changed, the number of job seekers per vacancy (1.6) remains the lowest since records began. These are signs that the labour market remains tight.
Pay growth is the strongest it has been in two and a half years, giving some relief to households’ budgets. But as the Chancellor noted in last week’s Spring Statement, the only route to stronger pay growth remains a revival in productivity growth, rather than the fits and starts that we’ve seen since the financial crisis.
The UK’s weak productivity underlines the need for the government to accelerate the industrial strategy, ensuring that the UK economy can generate jobs and sustainable pay growth in the future.
Across the UK, most regions and nations have seen an increase in employment, while unemployment has remained broadly unchanged.