Job vacancies are falling at the fastest pace since the height of the pandemic according to figures that will add to pressure on the Bank of England to cut interest rates soon.
Vacancies fell by 6.95 per cent to 929,138 last month, the biggest decline since June 2020, according to jobs search engine Adzuna.
And this month looks to be equally tough with early data suggesting a further fall of between 6 per cent and 8 per cent in January, according to the report.
The figures come ahead of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision on Thursday.
Rates are likely to remain on hold at 5.25 per cent but signs that the jobs market is tightening – while inflation is falling more sharply than expected – will fuel calls to start easing borrowing costs.
Competition: Vacancies fell by 6.95 per cent to 929,138 last month, the biggest decline since June 2020
Adzuna said competition for jobs was the highest it has been since September 2021, at 1.68 jobseekers per vacancy.
Retail, manufacturing and hospitality saw the biggest declines in advertised roles with teaching the only riser.
Average advertised salaries are still climbing – up by 0.96pc to £37,577. Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: ‘December’s data [shows] roles down nearly 7 per cent compared to November and nearly 13 per cent compared to the same time in 2022. Jobs are expected to drop further before they begin picking up.’
Tony Wilson, director at the Institute for Employment Studies, a consultancy, said: ‘Hiring is slowing down, but this data suggests that there’s been little if any rebound in activity in the new year.
‘Ordinarily, we would expect quite a strong bounce back in recruitment after Christmas.’
Separate new figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) show private sector activity fell in the three months to January – and has been flat or falling for the past year and a half. CBI lead economist Alpesh Paleja said: ‘It does look like the economy is set to remain stagnant at best in the near term.’