IoD press release October’s eagerly awaited data shows no let-up in skills shortages as furlough ends

Commenting on this morning’s release of labour market statistics, that showed unemployment down at 4.2% in the 3 months to October 2021, Kitty Ussher, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors, said: 

“This is the data that the Monetary Policy Committee has been eagerly awaiting to see if the end of the furlough scheme in September would cause a rise in unemployment. Instead, it shows unemployment continuing its downward march, including an encouraging fall among younger people who were particularly badly affected by the pandemic. With the number of payrolled employees – and vacancies – also continuing to rise, there is now little doubt in anybody’s mind that the labour market is becoming ever tighter.

“More concerning is the slight rise in economic inactivity among people of working age. Since the summer this appears to have been more to do with increased long-term sickness than from early retirement. Early in the pandemic we had also seen a fall in the number of people citing ‘looking after family/home’ as a reason for economic inactivity, perhaps as homeworking became easier, but that trend is now less clear as the economy settles.”

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