In the latest employment data for September to November 2023, the UK has witnessed a prolonged decline in job vacancies. However, the retail sector maintains resilience, staying above pre-pandemic levels.
The UK experienced a decrease of 45,000 job vacancies in the period from September to November 2023, marking the 17th consecutive quarterly decline.
Despite this prolonged fall, the number of vacancies still stands at a considerable 949,000, surpassing levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the UK, annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was a robust 7.3% from August to October 2023. However, this growth while strong, shows a slight slowdown compared to recent periods.
The retail sector reported a 7.3% growth in regular earnings, maintaining a competitive position.
Labour disputes decline; retail workforce holds steady
Labour disputes across the UK in October 2023 led to 131,000 working days lost, with three-fifths occurring in the health and social work sector.
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Surprisingly, the retail sector remained largely unaffected, with the lowest number of workers involved in disputes (49,000) since June 2022.
The estimated number of workforce jobs in the UK reached a record high of 36.8 million in September 2023. Remarkably, the retail sector contributed to this growth trend, with employee jobs hitting a record high of 32.5 million.
Payrolled employees in November 2023 remained relatively stable at 30.2 million, with a minor revision indicating a positive growth of 39,000 from September to October 2023.
Alternative estimates reflect stability amid uncertainty
Given increased uncertainty, alternative estimates using real-time information show stability in the UK labour market from August to October 2023.
The employment rate, unemployment rate, and economic inactivity rate remain largely unchanged at 75.7%, 4.2%, and 20.9%, respectively. This alternative perspective offers a more considered view while official estimates undergo scrutiny.