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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

REC response to ONS labour market figures, February 2024

Press releases

The ONS has published its latest labour market statistics this morning, Neil Carbery, REC Chief Executive, said:

“Today’s data benefits from the return of the Labour Force Survey and tells a clear tale. The Labour market softened in the spring and summer of 2023, before a slightly more positive last part of the year as unemployment dropped a little, employment grew a bit and vacancy numbers fell at a slower rate. Given the growth picture, this is a resilient showing, and reflects the business survey data, including our own Report on Jobs.

“There will be a lot of focus on the pay figures in this release, as pay growth did not fall back as much as expected. But with many wage settlements due to take place in the spring – and those from last year still in these figures – we will need to wait for more accurate data on 2024 trends. The significant rise in the National Minimum Wage will underpin wage growth to some extent this spring, and many companies report that this second significant rise in two years is proving challenging.

“The Chancellor can use the Budget to get growth going and boost employer confidence. A long-term plan to tackle skills and labour shortages, economic inactivity and weak productivity is long overdue. The resilience we have seen in the jobs market cannot be sustainable in the long-term unless we see a more significant return to economic growth.”


Notes to editors:

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