Companies are still finding it hard to attract workers, latest U.K. jobs data shows, as long-term sick hits record high

In the three months that ended in August, the unemployment rate in the United Kingdom decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 3.5%, the lowest level since 1974.

As the economic inactivity rate—the reverse of participation—matched the greatest level in five years at 21.7% between June and August, the ratio of jobless individuals to open positions decreased to a record low of 0.9.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the surge was mostly driven by two age groups

those in their 50s and 60s and people in their 16s and 20s, as a result of record-high long-term sickness rates as well as an increase in students.

According to Pawel Adrjan, head of EMEA economic research at the employment agency Indeed, the U.K. can increase the number of workers by reforming the healthcare system, making jobs more flexible, and offering higher wages.

He points out that although the number of work visas issued has increased over the past two years, the yearly rate of 330,000 is still very low given the size of the U.K. labour force.


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