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More Job Vacancies Than Unemployed People!

For the first time since figures started to be recorded, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced that in the UK we currently have more job vacancies than there are people unemployed.

Top current figures show that the 16–64-year-olds employment rate is at 75.7% and the economic inactivity rate is at 21.4%. Even though this has gone up, it is still below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Even though these levels have been bolstered by people moving from unemployment to employment, there has also been a record high of people moving from economic inactivity to employment. Job to job moves have also increased to being mainly resignations, rather than dismissals during Jan – March 2022.

The below figures are showing a strong growth throughout the start of 2022:

  • Estimate amount of payrolled employees for April 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 121,000 on the revised March 2022, to a record 29.5 million
  • Unemployment rate for Jan to March 2022 decreased by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 3.7%
  • The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 21.4% in Jan to March 2022 – recent increases in economic inactivity have been driven by those aged 50 to 64 years
  • Growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.0% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.2% in Jan to March 2022

Previous months’ pays’ strong growth rates were affected upwards by base and compositional effects. These initial temporary factors have worked their way out, however, we are now comparing the latest period with a time where certain sectors had increasing numbers of employees on furlough because of the winter 2020 to 2021 lockdown. Therefore, a small amount of base effect will be present for these sectors. This will not be to the degree we saw when comparing periods at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Employers are being urged to increase more flexible working policies and diversify their recruitment process to include less age-bias techniques. “The UK workforce participation crisis is continuing – driven by older workers leaving the labour market,” said Emily Andrews, deputy director at the Centre for Ageing Better. With 246,000 fewer people aged 50 to 64 participating in the workforce, “companies are missing out on the positive impact older workers can bring,” she continued.


Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:

“The unprecedented support we provided through our Plan for Jobs has led to the jobs market remaining robust despite global challenges, with the unemployment rate near record-lows and the number of payrolled employees at a record high.

“I understand that these are anxious times for people, but it’s reassuring that fewer people are out of work than was previously feared, and we are helping them to keep more of their hard-earned money through tax cuts, changes to Universal Credit and support with household bills worth £22 billion this financial year.”

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP said: 

“Our domestic labour market is recovering well with payroll numbers growing once again and vacancies remaining strong. It’s also fantastic to see over one million more disabled people are in work than this time five years ago.

“We do however, fully recognise the impact global inflationary pressures are having on the cost of living for families which is why we’re taking action to help the lowest earners. Our Work Coaches are helping people daily in our Jobcentres to move into work – those going into full time employment could q be £6000 better off than on benefits.

“That’s why we’ve launched the Way to Work campaign to get half a million more people to progress into work with over 280,000 moving into a job during the first three months of the campaign.”

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