Gerwyn Davies, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, responds to the latest official labour market statistics published earlier today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and HMRC:

"These are the most positive set of jobs figures since the start of the pandemic. It would be wrong to conclude that unemployment won’t continue to rise modestly for much of 2021, but the data suggests that unemployment may be close to peak.

“However, there is no room for complacency as the furlough scheme comes to an end. The data shows that the number of young people in employment has fallen to a post-pandemic low. This reinforces the urgent case for apprenticeship incentives to be made more generous and targeted specifically at 18-24 year-olds. It also underlines the need to improve employers’ awareness of traineeships and the Kickstart Scheme.  

“The hope is that the increase in economic activity in the worst-affected sectors will generate enough jobs over the coming months to offset the impending closure of the government’s furlough scheme. However, without intervention on skills and against the backdrop of new migration restrictions, the UK economy is at risk of sleepwalking into a labour supply crisis.” 

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