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1.92 Million Out Of Work - Industry Comment

1.92 Million Out Of Work - Industry Comment

There has been a fall in both the number of people in employment and the employment rate reports the Office for National Statistics.
The number of unemployed people, the unemployment rate and the claimant count have all increased.
The number of inactive people of working age and the inactivity rate have fallen.
The number of vacancies has fallen. Growth in average earnings including bonuses has fallen but earnings growth excluding bonuses is unchanged. In the latest reference period the working age employment rate was 74.2 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous quarter.
The number of people in employment decreased by 26,000 over the quarter. The unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous quarter.
The number of unemployed people increased by 131,000 over the quarter. The claimant count was 1.16 million, up 77,900 from the previous month. The number of vacancies was 530,000, down 69,000 from the previous quarter.

The Industry Comments:

ManpowerManpower believe that in the short term, we will continue to see employers making cuts across their workforce both with their temporary and permanent staff.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results indicate that employer hiring intentions will be at a 15 year low for January to March 2009. The survey which is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers regarding their hiring intentions for the quarter ahead, shows that employer optimism is down with a Net Employment Outlook of -2%.

Although the mood is largely one of uncertainty: eight out of 10 employers intend to see how their businesses perform in the first three months of 2009 before making any changes to staffing levels.

However, as businesses adjust and reassess their workforce needs, we are more likely to see employers hire temporary over permanent staff until such time as the economic outlook stabilises. The lure of a temporary workforce is that it is highly flexible and in Manpowers case, offers minimal employer liability.

Employers should look at redeploying their existing workforce or consider creative solutions that will allow them to retain their workforce during this difficult time, before making redundancies.

Mass redundancies should be the last resort, particularly if the economic climate or individual business circumstances suddenly improve and employers need to take advantage of an upturn, quickly and effectively.

The loss of intellectual capital through redundancies and the cost of training and developing new staff when the business climate improves should not be underestimated.

We are seeing evidence, across Manpowers business, of more reserved client orders. However, a skills shortage remains across certain sectors e.g. specialist engineers to work in the aeronautical industry and qualified drivers.

There will be times when jobseekers approach our branch and we wont have immediate work for them. But while they wait for us to find them employment, we are committed to advising them and offering free training and development in new areas they wouldnt previously have considered like the Public Sector.

Its most definitely an employers market out there. With fewer jobs available and more applicants for each job, the strongest CV will win. Jobseekers should constantly look to retrain and up-skill and be open to taking on jobs that they may not have considered when opportunities in the labour market were more abundant.

CIPDAccording to John Philpott, Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), we are now only at the start of what will be the darkest period for jobs since at least the early 1990s.

Dr Philpott comments, As the CIPD expected, the ONS figures show that unemployment stayed below 2 million in the three months to November 2008. That barrier wont have been broken until December. But looked at in the round the ONS figures confirm that the labour market had already slid into recession by November.

Unemployment rose to 6.1% - well above the rate the economy can safely sustain when the economy is growing at normal capacity. This indicates that as well as suffering fast rising unemployment we have entered a period when the rate of growth in average earnings will start to fall.

The autumn saw a surge in redundancies even before the spate of widespread job cuts that started to hit the headlines this month. This is in line with the CIPDs expectation that the total level of redundancies will reach 300,000 in the first quarter of 2009, with the economy set to shed at least 600,000 jobs overall during the course of the year.

For the first time in this downturn every sector of the economy registered a fall in vacancies. And with more employers across a variety of sectors putting staff on short-time there has been the first noticeable fall in working hours since the start of the downturn.

Full-time workers have been hit hardest by the downturn, with full-time women workers faring less well than full-time male workers. However, women overall have benefited from the increased availability of part-time jobs.

Although it is too soon to be certain, this also looks to be a jobs recession that is favouring the over-50s ahead of younger people. This may be because employers are implementing recruitment freezes more widely than in previous recessions, which disproportionately hits people entering the labour market.

Overall, todays figures confirm that the labour market was in recession before the turn of the year. But the worst of this jobs crisis is yet to come. We are entering the dark days and should be prepared for a depressing period when as in the 1980s and 1990s recessions - the benefit claimant count will rise by more than 100,000 each month. And even on the most optimistic of scenarios around 1 in 10 people will be unemployed by the time the jobs recovery begins.

Commenting on the figures showing unemployment has increased to 1.92 million, Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General said:

These numbers are as bad as we expected and are sadly going to get worse. The combination of falling demand and global credit constraints is pushing unemployment sharply higher.

But there will be some powerful stabilising forces kicking in later this year, including the impact of interest rate cuts, falling inflation and the fiscal stimulus.

We hope Mondays package of measures will also help to reassure viable companies that they wont run into trouble in the coming months because of a lack of credit.

RECUnemployed total should not be put at further risk by tax on jobs says REC
The total number of people out of work has risen to 1.92 million in the past month, the highest level for a decade. This is an increase of 85,000 on last month.
Responding to the latest figures, the Recruitment and Employment Confederations Chief Executive Kevin Green said: This gives great cause for concern but the recruitment industry will respond by working with Jobcentre Plus in getting people back into work as soon as possible.
However, this can only be achieved if the Government does not make matters worse by removing the VAT Staff Hire Concession which will result in up to 150,000 temporary jobs being put at risk in the financial services, education, health-care and charity sectors.
It is in the interests of the economy that recruiters, employers and jobseekers are given every incentive by the Government to ensure the labour market is not damaged further by this tax on jobs.
We shall continue to lobby the Government and tell it in the strongest possible terms that such measures are totally counter-productive in the current economic climate.


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