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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By GlobalData

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.