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The CBI today commented on the latest official figures on unemployment and employment. Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Adviser, said: Although the fall in unemployment is welcome, the figures also show that the number of people actually in work continued to fall, which is a concern.
The number or people in full-time employment dropped by 54,000 in the three months to January, while the number of part-time jobs was unchanged. Unlike previous months, an increase in part-time work did not help to offset falls in full-time employment.
Clearly, the labour market is still very fragile. Growth is not yet sufficient to generate net new job creation.
Fall in jobless total shows jobs market is stabilising, says REC
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has reacted to the latest ONS unemployment figures.
Commenting on the figures, Kevin Green, the RECs Chief Executive, said: These figures are good news and reinforce what recruiters have been saying for the last few months - that the UK jobs market has stabilised.  However, the public sector jobs market is also rapidly slowing and we are concerned that this will contribute to a jobless recovery.
The RECs  public sector resourcing campaign underlines the need for more deep-rooted reform to the way services are delivered rather than the kind of knee jerk short term cuts to temporary and permanent staffing which would impact on frontline services.
Continued surge in student numbers enables unemployment to fall, despite fewer people in work as private sector sheds jobs, says CIPD
Dr John Philpott, Chief Economic Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) comments as follows on official labour market statistics published earlier today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which update the Labour Force Survey measures of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity to the quarterly period November 2009-January 2010, the Workforce Jobs series to Q4 2009, Public and Private sector employment to Q4 2009, the count of people unemployed and claiming Jobseekers Allowance to February 2010, and average weekly earnings for January 2010:
One word sums up the latest official jobs figures: confusing. Unemployment is sharply down, however you measure it. Yet there also 54,000 fewer people in work, with full-time jobs particularly hard hit. The apparent paradox is explained by a very sharp rise of 149,000 in the number of economically inactive people, with the number of students surging by 98,000. Jobless young people are thus turning to study in their thousands to avoid the dole.  
Although a fall in unemployment is clearly better than a rise this should not be read as a sign that the UK jobs market is recovering strongly. Overall the jobs market is flat, operating at much weaker level of demand than before the recession, and still at risk of a serious relapse. Most worrying is the fall of 61,000 in private sector employment in the final quarter of 2009. The jobs market for the time being is still being propped up by the public sector but the public sector job creation machine is about the be switched off. Indeed, the latest figures already show a fall in employment in local government this marks the start of a jobs cull that will ultimately see hundreds of thousands of jobs cut from the overall public payroll.   
Whether or not benign headline jobless figures limit the potency of unemployment as a vote clinching issue in the forthcoming General Election campaign, whoever forms the next Government will face a Herculean task in its efforts to return the UK economy to full employment within this decade.      


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