South West has one of the strongest job markets in UK

The world of work

The highest employment rate in the UK is  in the South West according to official figures.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics the region  had an employment rate of 79.3 per cent for the last three months of the year –  the highest in the UK.

The lowest was in Northern Ireland (71.3 per cent); Scotland at 76.1 per cent saw a record high employment rate.

The highest economic inactivity rate estimate in the UK was in Northern Ireland (26.6 per cent) and the lowest was in the South West (18.9 per cent) for the three months ending November 2022.

The number of UK job vacancies fell by 75,000 in the last quarter of 2022 but remains at historically high levels, according to figures released today by the ONS the same time the number of employees on payroll increased slightly by 28,000, putting the salaried workforce above pre-pandemic levels. The rate of economic inactivity dropped by 0.1 per cent. The number of redundancies increased to 3.4 per thousand jobs, but remains low.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter to 3.7 per cent, but fell over the full year.

Unemployment is highest in the North East (4.7 per cent) and lowest in the South West (2.1 per cent).

Average nominal wages increased by 6.4 per cent between September and November 2022, but fell by 2.6 per cent in real terms, when adjusted for inflation. Nominal wages in the private sector (7.2 per cent) were more than double the nominal rises in the public sector (3.3 per cent).

Matthew Percival, the CBI’s director for people and skills, said:  “The continued evidence of younger and older workers returning to employment is welcome news. There are early signs of softening in the labour market, but many businesses are still struggling to hire and record pay growth is not yet easing the cost of living crisis.

“The government needs to pull every lever to ease shortages and strengthen the case for the business investment that is needed to drive growth and living standards. This means helping more people to overcome the barriers like the cost and availability of childcare or ill-health that are preventing them from working, and updating the Shortage Occupations List.”

Labour disputes saw 467,000 working days lost in November – the highest since November 2011.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...