BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said the cautious attitude was compounded by the need to keep operational costs—and therefore prices—down during the cost of living squeeze.
Many UK retailers were more cautious in hiring additional workers in the run up to Christmas last year due to low consumer confidence and falling sales volumes, the British Retail Consortium said. From November 2022 to January 2023, the highest employment rate estimate was in the South West and the lowest were in both the North East and Northern Ireland.
For the three months ending January 2023, the highest employment rate estimated in the country was in the South West (79.9 per cent) and the lowest were in both the North East and Northern Ireland (71.8 per cent). The highest economic inactivity rate estimates during the period was in Northern Ireland (26.4 per cent) and the lowest was in the South East (18 per cent).
The largest increase in the employment rate compared with the same period last year was in Northern Ireland, up by 3.1 percentage points, with Wales seeing the largest decrease of 2 percentage points.
For the three months ending January 2023, the highest unemployment rate estimates were in the West Midlands and London (4.5 per cent) and the lowest was in the South West (2.3 per cent); the North East (4.1 per cent), Yorkshire and The Humber (3.2 per cent) and Scotland (3.1 per cent) all saw record-low unemployment rates for their region.
The East of England had the largest increase in the unemployment rate compared with the same period last year, increasing by 0.7 percentage points, with the North East seeing the largest decrease of 1.3 percentage points.
The West Midlands saw the largest increase in the economic inactivity rate during the three-month period compared with the same period last year, up by 2.2 percentage points, with Northern Ireland seeing the largest decrease of 2.5 percentage points.
Between September and December last year, workforce jobs increased in 10 out of 12 regions of the United Kingdom, with the West Midlands seeing the largest increase of 82,000, while Scotland and Yorkshire and The Humber had falls of 26,000 and 5,000, respectively.
London had the highest proportion of service-based jobs (92.4 per cent) during that period, while the East Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber jointly had the highest proportion of production sector jobs (12.7 per cent).
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)