Last month’s release of labour market statistics suggests there has been a further softening in the UK jobs market, although earnings data did reveal average pay is now rising above inflation for the first time in almost two years.
The latest figures released by ONS were dubbed ‘experimental estimates’ produced under a new calculation that attempts to account for low response rates to the labour force survey. The new data showed that, although the unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.2% during the June to August period, the overall level of employment fell and the rate of economic inactivity rose.
In addition, the estimated total number of job vacancies dropped by 43,000 during the three months to September, the 15th consecutive reported decline. This reduced the number of vacancies to a two-year low of 988,000, although this figure is still significantly above pre-pandemic vacancy levels recorded in early 2020.
The latest earnings figures also revealed that regular pay rose at an annual rate of 7.8% in the June to August period, higher than the average inflation rate over the same three months. Furthermore, data revisions meant that wage growth actually outpaced inflation in the three months to July for the first time since October 2021.