The number of people looking for a job has increased while job opportunities have decreased, indicating that the uncertain economic outlook affects employment.
Between December and February, almost 220,000 more people were looking for a job than in the previous three months.
Official numbers show that unemployment grew slightly while job vacancies declined for the ninth time, even as more people are looking for a job.
Yet, the numbers also showed an increase in employment as more people returned to the labor force.
Overall, the economic growth of the UK has been flat since the spring of last year, with the effects of high energy prices and rising interest rates, as well as strikes in numerous sectors, taking their toll.
Insolvency Service data released on Tuesday also revealed a significant increase in the number of firms that went bankrupt in March. Last month, there were 2,457 business insolvencies, up from 1,784 in February.
Inflation has been running at more than 10%, close to 40-year highs, and the most recent earnings numbers show that pay rises continue to lag behind rising costs.
The annual growth rate in regular pay, excluding bonuses, was 6.6% between December and February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Nevertheless, when inflation is included, normal pay declines by 2.3%.
According to the ONS, the employment rate increased to 75.8% in the three months to February. However, during the same period, the unemployment rate increased to 3.8%, up from 3.7% in the previous three months.
Employment openings declined for the ninth week, with employers blaming economic challenges for the delay in recruiting new employees.
According to the ONS, the number of openings reduced by 47,000 from the previous quarter to 1,105,000 from January to the end of March, but vacancy levels remained “extremely high.”
The general director of recruitment firm ManpowerGroup, Michael Stull, told the BBC’s Today program: “We are beginning to notice a decrease in demand from employers. We are, however, still in a solid position.”
According to Daniel Ashville Louisy, director of construction firm Ashville Aggregates, despite current robust demand, many firms are beginning to put building projects on hold owing to economic uncertainties.
He also stated that profits were being squeezed since wages rose so rapidly.
Six professional tips if you are looking for a job
- Go beyond a 40-mile radius for opportunities – Remote, hybrid, and flexible working open up chances further away.
- Include keywords into your searches – When looking for a job Internet algorithms will recognize your everyday searches and send you more of the same.
- Don’t wait for a job to be listed; instead, contact a manager at a company that interests you because you never know what opportunities may arise.
- Market your expertise – Use social media sites like Linkedin to highlight your skills and experience. Other sites, such as Twitter and Instagram, can also be beneficial when promoting yourself to possible employers.
- Start studying – While you’re looking for a job, see whether you can cover holes in your resume with free classes, volunteering, or shadowing.
- Celebrate the tiny victories – If you are looking for a job, create personal goals, such as the number of jobs to apply for in a week or the number of cold emails to send, and celebrate the small victories along the road to keep your spirits up.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt responded to the recent numbers by saying, “Although unemployment remains near historic lows, rising prices continue to eat into pay cheques, which is why halving inflation this year is one of our top economic priorities.”
According to shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, the government is holding the Country back. “Their lack of ambition for Britain is causing real wages to fall, families to suffer, hundreds of thousands of people to lose their jobs, and our economy to lag.”
“The Tory party’s poor mismanagement of the British economy has led to inflation increasing and growth dropping,” said Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Sarah Olney.
It would help if you never put too much emphasis on a single set of numbers, but the rate of salary increases across the economy has shocked economists to the upside.
We may or may not be in the midst of a full-fledged recession or a more moderate downturn.
Read Also: New jobs in the US slows last mont
Yet, so far, the economy’s troubles have had only a minor impact on unemployment, obscuring just slightly the apparent picture that now is an excellent moment to look for a job.
The average salary increase in the private sector is 6.9%, slightly lower than the high.
It remains one of the most significant increases in average salaries recorded in most of the last 20 years.
Even in the public sector, companies with a free hand are paying more to attempt to overcome the current recruiting crisis, with earnings increasing 5.3% year on year in February.
Few will need reminding that, even with double-digit inflation, this is one of the largest real-term pay cuts that private and public sector workers have had to undergo since the 1930s.