Beth Kitson, Research and Policy Analyst at Pro Bono Economics, said:

“As inflation continues to gradually tick down, the national pay squeeze that persisted for 19 consecutive months appears to be behind us. Nevertheless, another fall in the number of vacancies and an increase in unemployment serves as further evidence of a weakening labour market.

“Relief from the pay squeeze, however, is yet to be felt by many of the most vulnerable. In August, Citizens Advice referred over 27,000 people for emergency support from charities and food banks, up from around 24,000 in July. It is the third highest monthly figure in the dataset, behind only January and March this year.

“It is also concerning to see the number of people economically inactive due to long-term sickness increase to another record high, following last month’s peak. Between May and July this year, over 2.6 million people were out of the workforce due to long-term ill health. Charities specialising in supporting those with long-term health problems to return to work have a vital role to play here.

“As summer draws to a close, with household finances left in a precarious position following a punishing pay squeeze, charities will be readying themselves for further demand, as temperatures begin to drop in the coming months. It is vital policymakers are alive to this changing picture and ready to respond to the issues affecting charities as they work to support the most vulnerable.”

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