PBE Reacts: ONS labour market statistics, December 2021 In response to today’s release of ONS labour market statistics, Anoushka Kenley, Research and Policy Director at Pro Bono Economics, said: “These latest figures show the rapidly expanding jobs market has reached record levels yet again, with vacancies rising to 1.2 million over the last quarter. The number of payrolled employees has also reached a record high of 29.4m, up 257,000 on the previous month. “However amid the good news, there is some emerging cause for concern in the rate of economic inactivity for people of working age, which remained at 21.2% in the three months to October, one percentage point higher than the pre-pandemic level. Economic inactivity is particularly pronounced among 18-24-year-olds and those aged 50-64. “Most worryingly, the most recent trends in inactivity have been driven by a rise in people reporting themselves as being long-term sick, which has offset declines in student numbers. “Charities have a clear role to play in supporting people back into the labour market, providing wider help for those struggling with illness and more specific employment assistance for those who have moved into inactivity. With many businesses continuing to report recruitment difficulties, these charities will be key to aiding the broader economic recovery.” Contact PBE's press office here.