PBE Reacts: ONS labour market statistics, February 2022 In response to today’s release of ONS labour market statistics, Helen Barnard, Research and Policy Director at Pro Bono Economics, said: “The rollercoaster of job vacancies continued to ride high over the last quarter, reaching a record peak of 1.3 million. Similarly, the number of payrolled employees is up 108,000 on the previous month to a record 29.5m. But looking beyond the headline figures, there are concerning signs of the damage left behind by the pandemic. “The proportion of people out of the labour market because of ill health has now hit a 20-year high at 26.4%. Economic inactivity driven by long-term sickness rose by 180,000 (8.4%) between April and December 2021. “For those in work, pay is now falling as inflation continues to bite. With inflation increasing, this is going to impact millions who are already struggling. “This combination of rising ill health and falling pay shows the UK’s recovery is leaving too many behind. Sustained and tailored support will be needed to turn this trend around. Charities disproportionately support people further from the labour market into jobs and will be vital in supporting those struggling to make ends meet.” Contact PBE's press office here.