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United Kingdom Labor Market October 2021

United Kingdom: Labor market remains in good shape midway through Q4

According to the ONS, in August–October the unemployment rate registered 4.2%, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous rolling quarter. Experimental data for November showed that employment rose by 257,000 from October, while job vacancies were at a record high in the three months to November. That said, vacancies in the month of November dipped for the first time since February.

The data suggests a negligible impact from the end of the government’s wage subsidy scheme (furlough) in September. That said, the surge of the new Omicron variant is likely crimping private spending towards the end of the year as consumers exercise increased caution and are told to self-isolate. This bodes ill for the labor market in the near term—particularly the hospitality sector.

On the latest reading, George Buckley, economist at Nomura, commented:

“This is a strong report showing rising payrolls, fresh highs in vacancies, another fall in the unemployment rate and pay growth picking up. Admittedly some parts of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) were not as strong, reporting a smaller rise in employment than consensus expected, with the rise over the latest quarter being concentrated in part-time rather than full-time jobs. Still, the message remains the same—that the labour market is tight and is supportive of some degree of monetary accommodation being withdrawn.”

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