Michael Simmons Michael Simmons

Have we really lost hundreds of thousands of workers since Covid?

A job advert for restaurant staff (Credit: Getty images)

The jobs market appears to be slowing down, but can we trust the figures? Vacancies have fallen for the longest continuous period on record, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). But there are still just under 950,000 jobs on offer which is well above the pre-lockdown norm. Meanwhile, despite British workers receiving real-terms pay rises in the three months to October, wage growth seems to have peaked. This will please Bank of England rate setters who feared that spiralling wage demands could worsen inflation. Average weekly earnings (including bonuses) fell slightly to 7.2 per cent on the year, down from 8 per cent. Because of lower inflation (now at 4.6 per cent) that translated to real-terms pay increases of 1.3 per cent. Other payroll data showed the slowest wage growth since October 2021.

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