The UK labour market: where do we stand now?

Document type
Cribb, Jonathan; Joyce, Robert; Norris Keiller, Agnes
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
28 April 2017
IFS Briefing Note; BN197
Social welfare
Material type

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This Briefing Note provides key information on the UK labour market in recent years, and summarises the challenges in the labour market facing the next government. It uses up-to-date data to understand how the labour market has performed in recent years and how it might continue to evolve over the course of the next parliament.

Key findings

  • The remarkable growth in employment since 2012 means the current employment rate is at a record high of 75%. However, it has levelled off in recent months and is not forecast to rise further.
  • There is no evidence that recent employment growth has been disproportionately driven by jobs in low-skilled occupations. Measures of ‘under-employment’ (workers who want to work more hours) are still higher than in 2008, but have fallen back since 2012.
  • Although the number of non-UK-born workers has increased faster than the number of UK-born workers since 2008, the employment rate of UK-born individuals is at a record high.

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