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comments on official labour market statistics for the August-October 2010 quarter

No joy and very little comfort in official pre-Christmas jobs figures, 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 for the August-October 2010 quarter published earlier today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS):

The latest jobs market figures are much worse than expected and the opposite of what was wanted in the run-up to Christmas, with no joy and very little comfort on offer. It is especially disappointing to see the positive momentum that had built up earlier in 2010 appear to run out of steam even before the full impact of the coalition governments spending cuts and tax hikes take effect. This does not bode well for 2011.

The limited comfort in the latest jobs figures comes in the form of another slight fall in the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance and a tiny increase in job vacancies. But the remainder of the ONS statistical release reads as if it was scripted by the Grinch who stole Christmas:

Private sector job creation dries up as the toll of public sector job cuts mounts the fall in public sector employment in 2010 so far remaining in-line with previous CIPD estimates

Manufacturing at the forefront of the export led economic recovery still downsizing and now joined by construction which will be a part of the private sector set to feel the brunt of cuts in public spending

Redundancies on the up and total unemployment above 2.5 million, with 1 in 3 of these people unemployed for more than a year

Women take a big jobs hit fewer in work and now well over 1 million unemployed, with public sector job cuts set to make the jobs outlook for women much worse in 2011

Middle aged jobs squeeze, as highlighted earlier this week by a CIPD study, continues but the youth labour market has also taken another turn for the worse

Full-time jobs still being lost now 1.16 million frustrated part-time workers who cant find full-time work and almost 600,000 frustrated temporary workers (nearly 2 in 5 of all temps) who cant find permanent work

Pay rises ticking-up slightly but still easily outstripped by price inflation foreshadowing a lengthy period of falling real living standards for most UK workers and typical families

All this of course is a picture of the UK labour market after what has generally been considered a better than expected year of jobs recovery. And its hard to see things getting much better in 2011.

Please see below a comment from Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director at Adecco on todays ONS figures:

We are still seeing positive trends in the job market, with an unprecedented number of permanent roles becoming available in recent months, particularly in sales, engineering and finance. SMEs have picked up their recruitment activity as they become more confident of their budgets and are investing in more permanent staff than ever before. The public sector is also increasingly recruiting for permanent roles following new rules which prevent them from hiring temporary staff. This is particularly evident in the further education sector.

While the number of people working full-time has decreased, jobseekers should be encouraged that there are roles available nationally, and we expect this to continue into 2011. We expect to see a large volume of jobs created for the London 2012 Olympics, which will begin recruiting throughout London from late 2011.

Employment figures highlight the fragility of the labour marketThe latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed how delicate the labour market recovery remains. Total employment fell by 33,000 in the period from August to October as a result of declining public sector employment. Separate figures released by ONS show that the biggest employment losses, 18,000, were in local government. Unemployment grew, by 35,000, on the broader ILO measure, to reach 2.5 million. The unemployment rate stands at 7.9. However, the narrower Claimant Count fell back fractionally, by 1,200, in November. Inactivity also rose by 22,000 with the largest increase among those taking early retirement.

Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, commented on the latest figures:The figures again serve to highlight the fragility of the labour market recovery. Overall employment fell slightly, by 33,000, as a result of the decline in public sector employment, which is now starting to show up clearly in the official figures. Redundancies in the public sector are now running at twice the rate of a year ago, whereas redundancies in all other sectors have fallen over the period.Unemployment stands at 2.5 million, having risen by 35,000, and it is clear that conditions remain very tough for jobseekers, with 5.5 unemployed people for every vacancy. More than one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for 12 months or more, and the number of long-term unemployed is at its highest since 1997.The rise in unemployment was more marked among women, and while in the past 12 months the general trend in male unemployment has been downwards, for women it has been clearly upwards, growing by some 89,000. With women more heavily represented in the public sector this trend may be set to continue. The figures also highlight the amount of spare capacity in the labour market, and the number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time work is now at the highest level since records began, standing at 1.16 million. The growth in those working in temporary contracts because they couldnt find permanent work also continued, growing by 23,000 over the quarter to reach 592,000.

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