UK unemployment drops while the number of long-term sick surges

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 UK unemployment drops while the number of long-term sick surges
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Highlights 

  • Unemployment in the UK plunged to 3.5% over the three months to August from an earlier quarter’s 3.8%.
  • With the number of unemployed people in the UK at around 1.2 million, the inactivity rate climbed by 0.6% over the quarter to 21.7%, as per ONS data.

While the UK economy is facing concerns over staff shortages, the number of working-age adults in the country, who are not a part of the labour market due to their long-term sickness, has hit a record high level, data shows.

According to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), unemployment in the UK plunged to 3.5% over the three months to August from an earlier quarter’s 3.8%. This is the lowest level of unemployment witnessed in the UK since February 1974.

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Nevertheless, the decline of the headline rate was seen along with a rapid increase in the number of “economically inactive” people. As per statisticians, these are the working-age adults who are not working and aren’t even looking for employment.

With the number of unemployed people in the UK standing at around 1.2 million, the inactivity rate climbed by 0.6% over the quarter to 21.7%, as per ONS data. In the age group of 16-64, the number of economically inactive people stood at about 9 million.

With the number of unemployed people in the UK standing at around 1.2 million, the inactivity rate climbed by 0.6% over the quarter to 21.7%, as per ONS data. In the age group of 16-64, the number of economically inactive people stood at about 9 million.

The surge in economic inactivity was primarily because of students and people with long-term illnesses. Due to long-term health issues, approximately 2.5 million people are economically inactive. The economic growth plan of the UK government may potentially face severe challenges due to the surging sickness rate; economists predict.

Amid this, UK investors can explore the following recruitment-related stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange. 

Hays plc (LON: HAS)

The YTD (year to date) return of the company offering recruitment and human resources services, Hays plc, stands at -29.07% as of 12 October. Meanwhile, HAS’ annual returns stand at 35.39%. HAS shares were trading at GBX 104.30 as the market opened at around 8:00 on Wednesday, seeing a hike of 0.77%. At the time of writing, the FTSE250-listed firm’s market cap stands at £1,669.73 million. With a P/E ratio of 11.36, the company’s EPS (earning per share) currently stands in the positive zone at 0.09. 

SThree plc (LON: STEM)

Enjoying a market cap of £463.75 million as on 12 October, STEM plc’s YTD return stands at -25.65% as of 12 October. STEM shares were trading at GBX 345.00 as the market opened at around 8:00 on Wednesday. With a P/E ratio of 8.59, the company’s EPS currently stands in the positive zone at 0.32. 

Robert Walters plc (LON: RWA)

The YTD return of the UK-based company that recruits professionals for temporary and permanent jobs, Robert Walters plc, stands at -34.03% as of 12 October. RWA shares were trading at GBX 492.00 as the market opened at around 8:00 on Wednesday. At the time of writing, the RWA’s market cap stands at £370.96 million. With a P/E ratio of 9.82, the company’s EPS currently stands in the positive zone at 0.46.

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