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KPMG comments on today's labour market data

KPMG comments on todays labour market data

Yael Selfin, Chief Economist at KPMG in the UK, comments on today’s labour market data:

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“The latest labour market data shows a mixed picture. While the unemployment rate rose marginally to 4.4% in the three months to December 2017, and the employment rate also fell slightly, the number of vacancies reached a record high of 823,000 between November 2017 and January 2018, pointing at an increasingly tight labour market. High demand for workers saw a rise in the number of people working full time and a continued fall in the number of self-employed.

“With the market reaching boiling point, more may need to be done to alleviate labour shortages in services, and in particular in consumer and retail, health and social care services where they have been reported most acutely. More targeted training for school leavers to improve the skills of younger workers is also needed as data shows those between the age of 16-24 experience more difficulties in getting jobs. Focusing on regional performance is also important, with the rise in unemployment driven by increases in Wales and Scotland, of 0.9 and 0.5 percentage points respectively, while England experienced no change from the previous quarter.

“There are signs that average weekly earnings, which rose by 2.5% in Q4, are beginning to respond to the tightness of the labour market, although households are still feeling the squeeze when accounting for inflation, with real earnings falling by 0.3%. However, there are very encouraging signs for UK productivity performance, which rose relatively strongly for the second quarter in a row, led by finance and business services. If stronger productivity continues into 2018, the Bank of England may decide to hold at least once on raising rates this year.”

-ENDS-

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Notes to Editors:

About KPMG
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 14,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.2 billion in the year ended 30 September 2017. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 152 countries and has 189,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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