UK job market cooling from overheated level, recruiters say

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s job market has cooled from recent peaks but still remains tight in many areas, recruiters said on Friday, offering mixed messages for the Bank of England as it tries to judge the strength of inflation pressures in the economy.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), a trade body, said job postings in the week to Sept. 17 were up 13.5% from a year earlier when many businesses paused activity to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth.

However, the 175,000 new job postings in the past week were below the level of more than 200,000 seen each week on average in the first half of this year.

“Recruiters across the country tell me that the market has normalised over the past few months, falling back from the all-time highs that were driven by opening the economy after the pandemic,” REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry said.

Demand varied widely between sectors. Hospitality, teaching and nursing had high vacancies, but employers in other sectors were becoming more picky about candidates.

The BoE unexpectedly held interest rates steady last week at 5.25% after data showed a surprise fall in inflation. But the central bank is keeping a keen eye on the labour market, as wage growth remains near a record high, despite rising unemployment.

(Reporting by David Milliken)