A brief analysis of the ONS Labour Market Statistics published on 13 May
Unemployment has continued to fall modestly, but there seems to be some level of displacement into underemployment - and the recent rises in vacancy numbers appears to have ended.
It may be that this points to a plateau-ing in the numbers, rather than an imminent downturn. However, unemployment among 18-24 year olds rose again on the quarter, up 4,000 and up 8,000 on six months previously. Having said that, it is still down over 100,000 on a year ago.
There is also a more disparate regional picture emerging with unemployment rising in the last quarter in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire & Humber, the East Midlands and West Midlands.
Pay increased a little more strongly, with 2.2% now the average annual rise. If this continues and coincides with low inflation then this could feed through into more consumer confidence and stronger growth. However, housing costs are still running high and show no signs of dropping.