We’ve recently been using datasets such as Claimant Counts and Furlough data, to try and glean some insights into the state of the labour market in the UK as the crisis has unfolded throughout the year. Another Government dataset that offers some clues is that relating to estimated job vacancies, which is published monthly by the Office of National Statistics. What makes it particularly useful, is the fact that the data is broken down into sectors, and so we can begin to get an idea of which industries have seen the biggest changes, and which may be starting to show some signs of recovery.
According to the ONS data, the total number of job vacancies (defined as positions for which employers are actively seeking to recruit outside their business or organisation) fell dramatically from March onwards, from 796,000 in the three-month period January-March 2020, down to 334,000 in April-June — a fall of over 58%. However, the figures from May-July do offer some hope, with an uptick of 34,000 to 368,000 job vacancies throughout the country.
The chart below breaks down the figures into sectors, with job vacancies shown on a rolling three-month average from 2001, to May-July in 2020. You can take a closer look at any of these sectors by clicking on the button in the list of sectors at the top of the chart:
As you can see, no sector has been left unaffected, but there are a number of sectors that have been particularly hard hit.
For example, Arts, entertainment and recreation has seen a huge percentage fall, with 87% fewer job vacancies in May-July than in January-March, whilst Accommodation and food services, and Professional scientific and technical activities are not far behind, with 79% and 71% fewer vacancies respectively.
In terms of numbers, Wholesale & retail trade has seen the biggest decline over the period, with 88,000 fewer vacancies than at the start of the year, followed by Accommodation and food services and Professional scientific & technical activities with 68,000 and 39,000 fewer respectively.
But as we mentioned above, there was a slight uptick in the last three months from May-July. The biggest of these was in the Accommodation and food services sector, which saw an increase of 10,000 job vacancies (a rise of 125% from April-June), and with Construction (57%), Professional scientific & technical activities (14%) and Wholesale & retail trade (10%) all seeing a rise of 4,000 more vacancies from the previous three months.
There are a number of jobs and unemployment datasets due for release around the middle of the month, so watch out for our analysis of those. If you would like to find out about the in-depth analysis we can offer you for your area, contact us now