Employees of Lloyd’s of London work at the London office, U.K.(Photographer: Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg News)

U.K. Employer, Retail Surveys Show Cost of Brexit Wrangling

(Bloomberg) -- The lack of clarity surrounding the U.K.’s departure from the European Union pushed confidence among British employers this month to levels last seen in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Optimism about both prospects for the economy and in making hiring and investment decisions declined to match the lowest since June 2016, according to a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation published Wednesday.

More than half were concerned about the availability of candidates for permanent jobs, with anticipated shortages of workers in health and social care, hospitality and engineering causing the most anxiety.

“The U.K. jobs market has been incredibly resilient but it cannot defy the effects of deep uncertainty indefinitely,” said REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry. A clear post-Brexit transition period and a sensible approach to EU immigration “would go a long way to allaying economic fears,” he said.

A separate report from the British Retail Consortium said that shop-price inflation accelerated to its fastest pace since 2013, led by food prices. While that is likely to subside in the coming months, BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson warned a no-deal Brexit in March would change that and cause increased prices for many goods.

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