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Labour Market Overview May'22: "For the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies."

Posted on 17 May 2022

Employment Rate

UK employment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points, this has been driven by:

  1. Movement of people aged 16 to 64 years from unemployment to employment;

  2. Record-high movement of people from economic inactivity into employment;

  3. Job-to-job moves also increased to a record high of 994,000 (driven by resignations rather than dismissals)

Unemployment Rate

UK unemployment rate decreased (January to March 2022) by 0.3 percentage points

Economic Activity

The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 21.4% in January to March 2022.

Recent increases in economic inactivity have been driven in part by those aged 50 to 64 years:

  1. Not feeling valued in their job;

  2. Wanting a change in Lifestyle;

  3. Leaving work for stress or Mental Health Reasons;

  4. Retiring.

Those who left work ranked social company or a job they would enjoy the most important in considering returning to work. This ranked above the financial incentive of returning to work, clearly displaying a shift in attitude and values.

Job Vacancies

The number of job vacancies increased to a new record of 1,295,000 (February to April 2022). However, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down.


All data published in this months overview points to an incredibly tight job market, with candidate attraction and retention at the forefront of employers minds. Data presented on Real and Nominal earnings shows employers are opting to offer bonus' to keep and attract staff, as well as to compensate for rises in inflation:

Full overview: Labour market overview, UK - Office for National Statistics (

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