Document Abstract

The UK labour market: where do we stand now? (IFS Briefing Note BN197)

Describes employment trends in the UK, drawing on data from ONS series, the Labour Force Survey, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and the Consumer Prices Index. Looks at: employment rates for 16-64 year olds; workforce composition (age, skills, education, gender); levels of ‘under-employment’ (workers who want to work more hours); change in employment level by country of birth; average earnings; and earnings growth. Finds that: the growth in employment since 2012 means the current employment rate is 75% - a record high; there is no evidence that recent employment growth has been disproportionately driven by jobs in low-skilled occupations; measures of ‘under-employment’ are higher than in 2008, but have fallen back since 2012; although the number of non-UK-born workers has increased faster than the number of UK-born workers since 2008, the employment rate of UK-born individuals is at a record high; average earnings of employees are still below pre-recession levels, and are currently being squeezed by rising household inflation; men and younger workers have seen larger falls in average earnings than women and older workers since 2008; low-earning workers, boosted by increases in minimum wage rates, have seen stronger pay growth since 2008 than higher-paid workers; and with unemployment having fallen to below 5%, further increases in employment will be harder to achieve. Highlights the challenge of future pay growth and the need to improve poor productivity.


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Cribb, Jonathan; Joyce, Robert; Norris Keiller, Agnes
Ref No:
Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

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