The UK’s tight labour market is continuing to hinder growth and the situation needs immediate Government action to relieve the pressure, business experts have said.
Figures released yesterday showed that the number of vacancies in October to December 2022, was 1,161,000 – a decrease of 75,000 from the three previous months (July to September).
But despite six consecutive quarterly falls, the number of vacancies remain at historically high levels.
The Bank of England has warned that the labour shortage issue is a major risk to forecasts that inflation will fall.
The regional picture mirrored the UK-wide situation. In the West Midlands, there were 127,000 out of work for the latest quarter – down 16,000 on August to October.
Staffordshire saw the number of people claiming unemployment benefit rise by 105 to 14,640 (2.7 per cent).
Reflecting on the data produced by the Office of National Statistics, Jane Gratton, above, Head of People Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The figures will come as no surprise to businesses who are desperately trying to fill record numbers of vacant roles.
“With over 1.16 million job vacancies, businesses are still experiencing a relentlessly tight labour market. If firms can’t hire the staff to fulfil their order books, any room for growth is extremely limited.”
Jane, formerly Deputy Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers, said: “Government is heading in the right direction with its plans to help bring economically inactive workers back into the labour force, especially older workers who left in their droves when lockdown ended.
“But we need to see more action. There must be carefully tailored careers advice, job seeker support and rapid re-training opportunities to help employers harness the skills and experience of older workers.
“Businesses also need to play their part, by engaging with local skills and employment opportunities, adopting flexible working policies where possible and helping older workers develop their skills for the changing workforce.
“The UK’s tight labour market is one of the top challenges preventing our businesses and economy from growing. It’s no use simply talking about growth if we are not prepared to take action on it.
“With an anaemic economy and low productivity, Government must take immediate steps to ease the considerable labour pressures on businesses – we can’t afford to wait any longer.”