An Overview of the Latest Labour Market Statistics

We’ve put together an overview of the most important figures relating to the UK labour market. This kind of insight often helps our clients to forecast for the coming months and plan their recruitment activity accordingly. We hope that you find it useful and we’re always here to offer tailored advice when required.


Recent increase in payroll employees

To put things into perspective, the number of payroll employees dropped by 693,000 between February 2020 and January 2021, with the largest fall being at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the three-month period of December 2020 to February 2021 saw a small rise in the number of payroll employees as businesses began preparing for the end of lockdown.

A significant portion (over 60%) of this drop in payroll employees was within the age band of 25 and under. The subsequent launch of the Kickstart Scheme, which remains open to applications until 31st December 2021, is helping to alleviate this large dip in young people on company payrolls.


Employment and unemployment rates

Data during the above period shows that the unemployment rate continued to increase but at a slower rate. According to the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate for December 2020 to February 2021 was 4.9%. This was 0.9 percentage points higher than one year earlier but 0.1 percentage points lower than the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the employment rate in March 2021 was 75.1%, making it 1.4 percentage points lower than one year earlier but only 0.1 percentage points lower than the previous quarter.


Economic activity

The economic activity rate between November 2020 and January 2021 was estimated to be 21%, which was an increase of 0.6 percentage points on the year and 0.1 on the previous quarter.


Redundancy rate

The redundancy rate in the three months to December 2020 was estimated at 11 people per thousand employees, which was a decrease of 2.3 per thousand compared to the previous quarter.


Annual pay growth

Between October and December 2020, the rate of 4.8% annual total pay growth was greater than the rate of inflation, with growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) at 4.2%.


Job vacancies

December 2020 to February 2021 saw an estimated 601,000 vacancies in the UK, which was 64,000 more than the previous quarter.


Hours worked

The same period (December 2020 to February 2021) also saw the total actual weekly hours worked in the UK at 959.9 million. This was a decrease of 20.1 million, or 2.1%, from the previous quarter, coinciding with the introduction of further coronavirus lockdown measures.


The next few months

Though the current furlough scheme runs until September 2021, many businesses and organisations are welcoming employees back into their commercial premises. As restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues reopen over the next few weeks, the future is looking brighter and we are hopeful that the labour market will quickly recover thanks to the swift rollout of the coronavirus vaccination.


Get in touch today

Prestige Recruitment is dedicated to matching employers with the highest calibre of candidates. To find out more, please call your closest branch or get in touch through our contact form.

Posted: Tue 25 May 2021
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