Today’s employment data may be “the calm before the storm”, says IEA labour market expert


In the Media

Mark Littlewood writes for The Times


Andy Mayer writes for CapX

Commenting on today’s ONS labour market data, Professor Len Shackleton, labour market expert and editorial and research fellow at free market think the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The UK labour market news continues to be a mixed bag. The number of payroll employees has risen again, but lagged data from January-March suggest that public sector employment has been rising faster than private sector jobs, with the number of self-employed slumping again.

“More young people are moving back into economic activity, and job vacancies now exceed unemployment for the first time since we started counting in the current manner. However, the exit of older workers has not been reversed, and total employment and hours worked are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.

“The pay picture shows a diversity of experience. Although real pay in January-March rose slightly, this was driven by bonuses, which most of those in work do not receive. 

“While it is good to see that most people can find some sort of work at the moment, today’s data may be the calm before the storm. They predate the tax hits which came in April, the energy price hikes and the effects of the Ukraine crisis, all of which are going massively to affect household living standards, drive changing labour market reactions and may lead to disruptive strikes. We are likely to be in for a much bumpier ride.”




Notes to editors


Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731


IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

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