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Rate cut less likely as UK jobs growth rebounds

By Hugh Wilson

UK employment growth at highest for nearly a year, while unemployment remains at 35 year low

UK jobs growth was at its strongest in nearly a year in the three months to November, with the number of employed people jumping to 32.9 million.

The rise of 208,000 is the biggest since the three months to 2019, while the unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent remains at its lowest level for 35 years. The number of people out of work dropped by 7,000 to 1.31 million.

David Freeman, head of labour market and households for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the body that compiles the figures, said: “The employment rate is at a new record high, with over two-thirds of the growth in people in work in the last year coming from women working full-time.

"Self-employment has also been growing strongly, and the number of people working for themselves has now passed five million for the first time ever.”

The figures may put pressure on the Bank of England (BoE) to keep interest rates unchanged at its next meeting at the end of January.

Signs of a slowdown in job creation had persuaded two members of the BoE's rate-setting committee to vote for a rate cut at the end of last year, but the rebound in jobs may convince the Bank to leave rates alone in the short term.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), warned that the upturn in job creation may not be sustained: “The jobs market remains a bright spot in the face of a challenging economic backdrop, with firms continuing to hire in large numbers,” he said.

“However, falling job vacancies in Q4 compared to the previous quarter suggests that a subdued economy, lingering uncertainty and persistent recruitment difficulties are weighing on firms’ hiring decisions. If sustained, this could increasingly stifle jobs growth.”

FURTHER READING: Employment figures reveal surprise slowdown in UK jobs market

FURTHER READING: UK tries to calm car makers’ Brexit fears

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