Squeeze on workers as inflation outstrips wage rises despite unemployment falling


Job vacancies hit record 1.3million as firms battle for workers and pubs say staff are QUITTING because they don’t want to work weekends – but Britons still face huge squeeze with wages lagging behind inflation by the biggest margin in a DECADE

Businesses’ desperate scramble for staff was underlined today as figures showed job vacancies hitting a new record and unemployment down 0.2 percentage points. 

Official figures showed 1.3million unfilled jobs in the three months to May, while numbers on payrolls were up 90,000 from April to a new high of 29.6million last month. 

Meanwhile, unemployment dropped to 3.8 per cent in the quarter to April.

The figures were revealed amid more examples of the struggle for firms to get staff, with reports that staff are quitting pubs because they don’t want to work weekend. 

However, the overheating labour market is not sparing workers from a pay squeeze – with inflation outstripping wage rises by the biggest margin in a decade.

Official figures show that taking inflation into account regular pay fell by 2.2 per cent between February and April, while even including bonuses it barely broke even up 0.4 per cent. 

Rishi Sunak claimed the jobs market is ‘robust’ and pointed to the low level of redundancies, despite fears the economy is grinding to a halt amid the Ukraine crisis.   

Sam Beckett, head of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: ‘Today’s figures continue to show a mixed picture for the labour market.

Official figures showed 1.3million unfilled jobs in the three months to May

Official figures showed 1.3million unfilled jobs in the three months to May

Official figures show that taking inflation into account regular pay fell by 2.2 per cent between February and April, while even including bonuses it barely broke even up 0.4 per cent

Official figures show that taking inflation into account regular pay fell by 2.2 per cent between February and April, while even including bonuses it barely broke even up 0.4 per cent

‘While the number of people in employment is up again in the three months to April, the figure remains below pre-pandemic levels.

‘Moreover, although the number of people neither in work nor looking for a job has fallen slightly in the latest period, that remains well up on where it was before Covid-19 struck.

‘At the same time, unemployment is close to a 50-year low point and there was a record low number of redundancies.

‘Job vacancies are still slowly rising, too. At a new record level of 1.3 million, this is over half a million more than before the onset of the pandemic.’

She added: ‘The high level of bonuses continues to cushion the effects of rising prices on total earnings for some workers, but if you exclude bonuses, pay in real terms is falling at its fastest rate in over a decade.’

Mr Sunak said: ‘Today’s stats show our jobs market remains robust with redundancies at an all time low.

‘Helping people into work is the best way to support families in the long term, and we are continuing to support people into new and better jobs.

‘We are also providing immediate help with rising prices – 8 million of the most vulnerable families will receive at least £1,200 of direct payments this year, with all families receiving £400.’

Rishi Sunak claimed the jobs market is 'robust' and pointed to the low level of redundancies, despite fears the economy is grinding to a halt amid the Ukraine crisis

Rishi Sunak claimed the jobs market is ‘robust’ and pointed to the low level of redundancies, despite fears the economy is grinding to a halt amid the Ukraine crisis

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