Today’s ONS labour market data show our increasing reliance on temporary workers, who’s numbers have increased by 7.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis to approximately 1.67 million for the three-month period from December 2021 to February 2022. The number of temps as a percentage of total employment was 5.97%, up from 5.61% when compared to a year ago. Interestingly, 27% of those temporary workers said they did not want a permanent job.
The number of job vacancies in January to March 2022 rose to a new record of 1,288,000; an increase of 50,200 from the previous quarter, with the largest increase in human health and social work. These figures illustrate the difficulties being experienced by companies seeking to recruit staff, fortunately temps are on hand to prop up businesses and the UK’s economy.
This month’s reduction in unemployment (down to 3.8%) seems positive, but it is actually a reflection of people leaving the labour market entirely and becoming economically inactive. This shift is particularly concentrated among those aged 50-64, some of whom will be making a positive choice to retire, however others are unable to find work.
While the number of self-employed workers is still well below pre-pandemic levels, it has increased slightly in the recent quarter.