Responding to today’s ONS labour market figures, Jonathan Boys, labour market economist for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:

 “The fifth consecutive quarterly fall in job vacancies shows that UK employers are tapping the brakes but are a long way off from heading into reverse. It takes months to recruit, so vacancies are a good leading indicator of what’s coming around the corner. A recession may take some of the heat out of labour demand for some sectors, but sectors like health and social care are unlikely to be one of them, as pressure on the NHS continues to build.

“Few people are seeing their pay keep up with rising prices as real earnings are down 2.7%. Although inflation may have ‘peaked’, even as it comes down prices will still be going up. The cost-of-living crisis has some time to run yet. The Bank of England is likely to raise rates again on Thursday which will further thump the finances of householders with mortgages.

“Pay continues to be at the centre of continued industrial strife, with 417,000 days lost to industrial action in October and more expected over the festive period. For most of the last 20 years, public sector employees have earned more than their private sector counterparts. This reversed in 2021 and the gap between the two has now grown to £21 a week or £1,093 a year. With private sector regular pay growing by 6.9% in the year to August-October compared to 2.7% in the public sector, this gap is set to widen further. The challenge will be for employers to do what they can to support their staff through a cost-of-living crisis at the same time as the cost of doing business is rapidly rising.” 

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