Experts are warning an era of record employment figures could be coming to an end in the UK.
The July outlook for the jobs market is at its worst level in more than a year in accountancy firm BDO’s monthly index, which rounds up the results of leading UK business surveys across sectors.
The BDO index has fallen for a third month in a row after half a decade of almost continuous growth, raising concerns over how long Britain’s apparent jobs “miracle” can last.
The figures suggest the number of job vacancies reported across the UK economy has slipped 4% since the start of the year.
“This trend may well be exacerbated while uncertainty remains high and the economy slows,” according to the report, which was published on Monday.
It comes days after official data revealed the UK economy had shrunk in the second quarter of this year, the first decline in seven years.
“The glory years appear to be over,” said Peter Hemmington, a partner at BDO. “This could be the beginning of the end of the strong employment market in the UK. It has remained one of the more resilient pillars of the UK economy, even in the face of Brexit.”
Britain has witnessed a period of striking employment growth, with the number of people in work currently at its highest ever, and the employment rate of 75.8% being the best since 1971.
The unemployment rate held steady in July at 3.8%, its lowest rate on record, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest figures will be released on Tuesday.
The shrinking number of people unable to find work has been widely welcomed, but there are also concerns about the rise of insecure self-employment and firms hiring lower-paid, temporary staff instead of making longer-term investments.
But the BDO report also highlights an uptick in optimism in the manufacturing sector in July, after confidence crashed to its lowest in years in June. It comes in spite of a significant decline in reported manufacturing output.