Living wage and Brexit fears impact job vacancies data

As Brexit discussions gain momentum and minimum wage rises, national job vacancies have slumped

Figures showing April’s job opening numbers for the UK suggest a slump in vacancies last month. Data analysed by online employment giant demonstrate a fall of almost 30%, in comparison with this time last year.

Indeed’s analysts suggest that the downward trend in job openings could be due in part to the nation’s uncertainty relating to membership of the European Union and the upcoming referendum. In addition, employers are under increased pressure following the rise in the minimum wage.

According to the site’s data, job openings fell by 9% at the beginning of March, and subsequently reduced to a significant low during April. The slump followed the statutory rise in minimum wage, which was increased from £6.70 to £7.20 an hour.

Mariano Mamertino, an economist from the site suggests that this may have contributed significantly to the slowing job market as employers adapt to the new rate. He posits that the combined impact of the minimum wage increase, in conjunction with business uncertainty relating to Brexit has led to a rapid cooling of the job market across Britain.

Since the beginning of the year, the labour market has seen a gradual slowing consistent with the rest of the economy, with an overall rise in unemployment figures.

This economic downturn is thought to be attributable in part to predictions that, should Britain leave the EU, there will be an immediate negative impact upon national financial stability. While the Brexit discussion continues, businesses are thought to be holding off from expansion and investment, awaiting the outcome of the referendum.

According to think tank Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), should the UK opt out of the European Union, national GDP could fall by up to 3% within four years. A spokesperson for the think-tank stated that the potential new restrictions following an exit from the EU would reduce the labour force, weaken the economy and reduce net migration inflows.

As the Brexit argument continues, Sterling has displayed a consistent fall against other currencies. With three weeks to go until the EU referendum, investors are growing concerned as the UK exit vote gains momentum in opinion polls.

Britain currently conducts approximately half of all trade with fellow EU members, with international trade negotiations outside of Europe being conducted by the Union, as opposed to individual member states. While a successful Brexit decision would free the UK from restrictions levied through EU membership, economists fear that the short-term implications of EU independence would have a damaging impact upon employment, trade and the economy.

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