The UK unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% for the past quarter, as businesses continue to recruit after the removal of Covid restrictions, this rate is 0.5 percentage points lower than the previous quarter. However, vacancies at UK companies hit a record level in August to October, rising to 1.17m – that’s an increase of 388,000 from the pre-pandemic January to March 2020 level, with 15 of the UK 18 industry sectors showing record highs.
The ONS also estimates that underlying regular pay growth is around 3.4%, but says that this should be interpreted with caution given the uncertainty on inflation. Inflation continues to be the word on everyone’s lips – the year on year increase on gas is 28%, electricity 19% and fuel 22%.
The HMRC faces a significant challenge in clearing the backlog of debt owed, with some £42bn still owed to HMRC in September 2021 (up £16bn from January 2020).