UK employment in the food and drink industry falls 0.7% year-over-year in Q4 to 450,000 jobs, as labor and skills shortages continue to hold back growth, according to the UK's Food and Drink Federation

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March 14, 2023 (press release) –

Employment in the food and drink industry fell for a second consecutive quarter in Q4, with 3,000 jobs lost. This is a fall of 0.9% in the industry’s labour force compared to Q3 2023 or of 0.7% compared to Q4 2022.

Total employment in the industry now stands at 450,000. In contrast, the UK economy added 318,000 jobs in the same period, a gain of 2.6% on the quarter or of 0.9% on the year.

The FDF's head of industry growth Caroline Keohane said:

“Today's fall in the number of jobs in food and drink manufacturing is concerning in the Government's bid to stimulate productivity and halve inflation. The outlook for our sector, which is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, continues to be one of labour and skills shortages, which are holding back growth.

“With vacancy rates double the national manufacturing average at 7%, the food and drink sector needs a more flexible approach to tackle the skills shortages that prevail at every level. Tomorrow’s budget provides a clear opportunity for the Chancellor to work with our industry, and support businesses to invest in innovation, automation and skills as we transition towards an even more productive and highly skilled sector."

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