unemployment is rising again despite a tight market

London (awp / afp) – Unemployment rose just over a month in the UK to 3.6% at the end of September, despite tensions in the labor market in this country since the Covid pandemic.

Unemployment rose slightly to 3.6% between July and September, compared with 3.5% in the period ending at the end of August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced on Tuesday.

However, it remains on a downward trend compared to the spring, and generally since the post-pandemic recovery, notes the ONS.

And it remains at the lowest level in nearly 50 years, according to the same source.

The labor market has been tight in this country since the Covid pandemic, particularly due to hundreds of thousands of people on long-term illness who have therefore dropped out of employment statistics, data from the ONS shows.

Two days before the presentation of a new budget that signals the return of austerity in the country and faced with inflation of more than 10%, real wages, that is, adjusted for price increases, they continue to withdraw. They lost 2.7%, excluding bonuses, over a year.

As a result, strikes over wages have multiplied across all sectors of activity in recent months in the UK, particularly affecting the transport, logistics and postal sectors.

The months of August and September “saw more than half a million working days lost due to strikes” cumulatively, the figure “the highest over two months for more than a decade”, notes Darren Morgan, the ONS director of economic statistics, on Twitter.

“Tackling inflation is my top priority and it is driving the tough tax and spending decisions we will announce on Thursday” in the budget presentation, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said in a statement.

“Restoring stability and reducing debt is our only option to reduce inflation and limit the rise in interest rates,” he added, as the Bank of England has steadily raised its key interest rate over the past few months to try to tame inflation. .

“It is only a matter of time before the ‘bleak outlook for the UK economy, on the brink of recession’, spills over into the labor market,” warns Yael Selfin, economist at KPMG.

Employers are noting weaker demand and rising labor costs, and “we expect the unemployment rate to eventually peak at around 6% in 2024,” according to the economist.

The number of people not working due to long-term illnesses exceeded 465,000 people at the end of September, a number that has increased more than six times since the beginning of the pandemic.

More than 7 million people are now waiting to receive treatment (all pathologies combined) in UK hospitals, a record level according to official figures published last week.

The public health system, the NHS, which has been underfunded for years, is regularly highlighted, although the ONS says “further investigation is needed” to establish a cause and effect relationship with certainty.

“Health-related economic inactivity costs the UK £180bn a year,” employers’ association the CBI said in a statement.

“The labor shortage this creates has a detrimental impact on productivity,” she added.

afp/lk

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