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The Recent Performance of the UK Labour Market

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  • Stephen Nickell
  • Glenda Quintini

Abstract

We consider both the overall macroeconomic performance of the UK labour market since 1997, as well as some of the underlying micro problems, particularly those facing unskilled workers, On the macro front, we have seen unemployment decline to its lowest level for a generation without excessive inflationary pressure. The main factors behind this decline in equilibrium unemployment stem from actions taken by the previous government. Changes introduced in the labour market since 1997 are likely to have only small effects on equilibrium unemployment. Underlying this favourable aggregate labour-market performance are serious problems facing unskilled men who have seen dramatic increases in their unemployment and inactivity rates, concentrated particularly in Wales and the northern regions of Britain. The policy response since 1997 has focused on encouraging the unskilled into work (the New Deal) while simultaneously raising the rewards for working (the minimum wage, tax credits). These policies have had a positive impact on youth employment and have significantly reduced child poverty. So far, however, existing policies do not seem likely to have a serious impact on the high levels of worklessness among unskilled men. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Recent Performance of the UK Labour Market," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 202-220, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:18:y:2002:i:2:p:202-220
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara Petrongolo, 2007. "What Are the Long-Term Effects of UI? Evidence from the UK JSA Reform," CEP Discussion Papers dp0841, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Alena Bicakova, 2006. "Market vs. Institutions: The Trade-off Between Unemployment and Wage Inequality Revisited," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/31, European University Institute.
    4. Olivier Pierrard & Henri Sneessens, 2004. "The European Labour Markets - Aggregate Unemployment and Relative Wage Rigidities," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 5(1), pages 19-23, October.
    5. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The Case of the Missing Productivity Growth: Or, Does Information Technology Explain why Productivity Accelerated in the US but not the UK?," NBER Working Papers 10010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nicholas Crafts, 2013. "Returning to Growth: Policy Lessons from History," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34(2), pages 255-282, June.
    7. Rebecca Riley & Simon Kirby, 2006. "The Returns to General versus Job-Specific Skills: the Role of Information and Communication Technology," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 274, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    8. J. Shackleton, 2007. "Britain’s Labor Market Under the Blair Governments," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 454-476, July.
    9. Petrongolo, Barbara, 2009. "The long-term effects of job search requirements: Evidence from the UK JSA reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1234-1253, December.
    10. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Seppo Honkapohja & John Kay & Willi Leibfritz & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Xavier Vives, 2004. "Pay-setting Systems in Europe: On-going Development and Possible Reforms," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 61-83, October.

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