The UK has been through turmoil for approaching 4 years from when the campaign for the referendum began to the total confusion of last autumn. For much of that period employment has remained steady even when the headlines have provided little or no certainty about the outcome. During Q4 our customers were reluctant to make commitments over their future hiring needs but what this data shows us is that neither did they panic into job cuts and redundancies.
Boris has his majority and Brexit is almost upon us and with it a further degree of risk as we seek agreement with the EU on our future relationship. One might expect all of this to lead to a weak jobs market. The reality is that the labour market appears strong with low unemployment and 200,000 jobs added. This has played positively to where the economists thought the UK might be.
This is clearly confounding the experts and it begs the question as to what we might expect from the UK economy in the next 12 months. Will we see stronger economic growth (the Boris Bounce)? Will we see the fear factor and the risk averse people hold back decisions based on uncertainty?
Time alone will tell
The UK economy added 208,000 jobs in the latest quarter, taking some of the pressure off the Bank of England to slash interest rates next week. Unemployment fell by 7,000 to 1.31 million in the three months to the end of November, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Meanwhile, employment far outstripped expectations, hitting an all-time high of 76.3 per cent. The news has thrown uncertainty into the works, as the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which sets the rates, is due to meet next week.