Labour Market Update – December 2023
As a leading provider of human resource solutions across the region we wanted to share with you latest trends and insight for the month of December.
The latest ONS Labour Market Overview continues to be the adjusted experimental data and reported:
The Financial Times reported the ONS has released the early findings from their new survey which found that UK unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in the spring. This new figure, if confirmed, would match a low seen only once since the 1970s. The Transformed Labour Force Survey will replace the current survey in March 2024 and is currently under test and will be the data used to produce the ONS Labour Market Overview.
The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride have unveiled their Back to Work Plan – a package of employment focused support that will help people ‘stay healthy, get off benefits and move into work’ – as part of the Autumn Statement. The plan includes:
The CBI’s latest Employment Trends Survey tracks labour market trends and people challenges facing businesses across the economy. The key takeaways are:
The CIPD has published its latest Labour Market Outlook Report – Autumn 2023. The key findings were:
The Food and Drink Federation has published their Q3 State of Industry Report based on the latest members’ survey. This report tracks the sentiment of the UK’s food and drink manufacturers. It found that labour shortages have risen in the run up to festivities:
The latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs Survey reported a weak economic outlook and greater caution among employers which has dampened recruitment in November. A sharp fall in permanent staff appointments combined with a fresh decline in temp billings indicates a broad-based reduction in hiring activity. At the same time, vacancies fell slightly for the second time in the past three months.
The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs: North of England has reported that permanent staff appointments fall at stronger rate but temp billings increase at fastest rate since April. Neil Carberry, Chief Executive from the Rec has advised ‘The slowdown in our labour market seems to be easing a bit across the country apart from the North. But there is good news about with the fastest rise in temp billings in eight months in the region. Given that December is a time when employers generally postpone activity into the new year, we can hope with some confidence for more positive signs early this year that the labour market in the North can weather the current economic storm’.
The report also states the seasonally adjusted Temporary Billings Index for the North of England registered above the neutral 50.0 mark for the second month running, thereby signalling a further rise in billings received in December. Recruiters linked the increase to a greater preference for temporary staff among employers. The rate of growth was the quickest in eight months and solid. After a modest decline in November the seasonally adjusted Temporary Wages Index also posted above the neutral 50.0 mark to indicate a renewed rise in hourly pay rates across the North of England in December. This was largely due to competition for suitably-skilled workers, according to panellists. The pace at which temp wages increased was solid, but softer than the average seen over 2023 as a whole.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies latest report The Changing Geography of Jobs found a key feature of the labour market is the ‘hollowing out’ of the occupational structure with middle-paying occupations decreasing more than low or high paying occupations, which has a consequent impact on the geography of jobs. Some of the key findings are:
The latest ONS statistics show that net migration (difference between immigration and emigration) has hit record highs over the last two years. Net migration to the year ending June 2023 was 672,000. Immigration was 1.18 million, an increase of 102,000 and emigration was 508,000, an increase of 37,000. EU nationals accounted for 42% of the emigration numbers.
On 4th December 2023, the Home Secretary, James Cleverly announced plans to cut net migration by around 300,000. He presented a five-point plan:
The Institute for Government has produced an Explainer about the government’s new Rwanda asylum plan. The plan to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda is in the form of a treaty signed by James Cleverly and the Rwanda Foreign minister. The treaty looks to address the issues raised by the Supreme Court.
The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill tries to reverse the finding that Rwanda is not a safe place for asylum purposes, to rule out further legal challenges and close off all possible grounds for challenge nationally and internationally.
The GLAA have published their new three-year Strategy and accompanying Business Plan. Targets include the reduction of the time taken to make decisions and a significant increase in inspection activity.