Unemployment remains steady at 4.1%
Increased female employment is "a sign that family-friendly and flexible working policies can have a real impact," says Indeed's Jack Kennedy
7 September 2023
The main unemployment rate was 4.1% in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, unchanged from July 2023 and down from a level of 4.4% 12 months ago, CSO data shows. The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed was 111,500 in August and was down by 4,100 in the past 12 months.
According to Jack Kennedy, senior economist at global job site Indeed, the latest result shows “the labour market remains effectively at capacity while the country’s economic performance continues to impress”.
In a comprehensive analysis of the latest data, Kennedy outlined a number of key points, including policies to retain staff.
“To add to high employment figures, the country is benefitting from bumper, albeit volatile, tax takes, but there is still a challenge in balancing such a strong economy with the individual experiences of some households at a time of high inflation,” Kennedy said.
“Higher prices and increased energy and mortgage costs have affected consumer sentiment and could lead to a wage price increase spiral as employees seek better pay or move jobs to achieve it.
“For employers, focussing on policies that will retain staff and make a business more attractive to would-be employees is vital. Measures such as equal and transparent pay, flexible working, good employee benefits and ensuring staff are motivated and energised, are not only the right thing to do, but have been shown to improve retention and recruitment and, in many cases, result in increased outputs.
“The recent CSO Labour Force Survey showed the employment rate in Quarter 2 of this year was at 74.2%, the highest rate recorded since the series began in 1998. The numbers were boosted by increased female employment and increased female participation in the labour force. The employment rate for females aged 15-64 was at 70.5%, the highest level ever recorded.
“This is a positive development and a sign that family-friendly and flexible working policies can have a real impact. The government has introduced new initiatives and legislation in this area while many employers have adopted their own measures, which go beyond legal requirements.
“Businesses that continue to provide flexible conditions and quality benefits with a focus on the wellbeing of their employees should be able to attract a balanced workforce and are likely to be able to recruit more easily in a tight labour market.”