Sara’s Blog: Latest labour market statistics, interest rate rises again and Let’s Do Business

Sara Williams

Earlier this week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released their latest latest labour market statistics.

The ONS Labour Force Survey estimates for February to April 2022 show that over the quarter there was an increase in the employment rate, while unemployment and economic inactivity rates decreased.

With an increasingly tight labour market, it has become much harder for employers to fill job vacancies. The knock-on effect is impacting on firms’ ability to operate normally and retain skills in the business.

The further rise in the employment rate coupled with a drop in the unemployment rate is good news, but they also reflect how little room for manoeuvre there is for unfilled vacancies on the ground.

With a new record set for the number of vacancies, and no easy way to fill them for many companies, labour shortages are likely to continue to damage the UK’s growth prospects.

Despite recruitment difficulties, the damage to firms’ finances from soaring inflation and rising national insurance will limit the extent to which wages can continue rising. A double-whammy as disposable income falls, and consumer spending decreases even further.

We need to find ways to bring people back into the UK labour market. Flexible working practices, rapid re-training opportunities and a focus on workplace health can support many economically inactive people to return to the workplace.

We will be directing much of our lobbying resource towards these crucial issues, not only for our area but through the British Chambers of Commerce who have a direct route to government ministers including the PM, the Chancellor and the Minister for Business, Innovation & Skills.

If these issues are affecting your business, we would like to hear from you. I would urge you to get in touch with our External Affairs and Communications Advisor, Rhouda Elalfy at the Chambers: or 01782 202222.

You can view the full ONS report here:

The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee raised interest rates to 1.25 percent this week – we now have the highest rate in 13 years.

Business and consumer confidence is likely to be further damaged, causing fewer firms to invest and grow their business, ultimately having a negative impact on the UK’s economic growth.

Despite the effect that this will have on UK companies, the Bank of England has stated that an increase in interest rates will help to stabilise exchanges rates and ease rampant inflation.

You can join our discussion about interest rates and its impact on business in our Virtual Member’s Lounge from Monday at:

I am delighted to announce that Chamber members can now book a stand at Let’s Do Business, Staffordshire’s largest business show, set to take place at Uttoxeter Racecourse on Thursday 20th October.

Let’s Do Business will see over 1,000 delegates and local businesses come together to network, make new connections, showcase their services and ultimately, do business.

Each year, the very best Staffordshire companies come together to promote their products and services to decision makers from across the region. Let’s do Business is also a fantastic way to meet new customers and suppliers to help move your business to the next level.

Members can take advantage of our early bird offer to receive £50 off the cost of their stands.

Networking is still one of the most effective ways to promote and build business, and this event is a must-attend for any business looking to connect and share information with new and existing contacts.

Stands are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and the sooner you book, the bigger your choice of stands.

You can reserve your stand here: Let’s Do Business – Staffordshire Chambers

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email:

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