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ONS unemployment figures

comment from Adecco on the new ONS figures:
Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director, Adecco - the UK's largest
recruiter, said:
"A second consecutive increase in employment figures provides job
seekers with some hope. However, reports suggest that the number of advertised vacancies is decreasing in many sectors, representing a continued caution amongst employers who are still unable or unwilling to create new permanent positions in an unstable climate.  Key growth areas such as banking, finance and insurance are seeing an uplift in the creation of new job vacancies, but for the jobs market to really show signs of recovery we need to see the creation of new roles extended across other large industry sectors, such as engineering and manufacturing and retail."
ONS unemployment figures: Comment from the Institute for Employment Studies
Please find below a response from Institute for Employment Studies to todays ONS unemployment figures.Jobs recovery remains anaemicThe labour market figures released by the Office for National Statistics today continue the pattern of recent months, with a mixed picture from the various indicators, but little overall change. The headline unemployment figure from the Labour Force Survey recorded a small fall of 36,000 over the quarter to March, and unemployment still stands at just below 2.5 million. The more recent claimant count figure, recording the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance increased slightly by 12,400 and remains just below the 1.5 million level.The total number of job vacancies fell by 30,000 in the 3 months to April, and although there are still 469,000 unfilled vacancies in the economy, this total is only two thirds of the level at the beginning of the recession, and there are now more than five unemployed people for every vacancy compared with only just over two per vacancy before the recession.Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, commented on the latest figures:The latest official employment figures provide further confirmation that the recovery in the UK labour market is faltering and somewhat anaemic.Its now over three years since the start of the recession and weve yet to see a substantial fall in unemployment or sustained growth in employment. The UK is doing worse than many competitors in this respect: although we entered recession before most other countries, by early 2011[1] the UK unemployment total had fallen only 2% from its peak, compared with falls of 4% in France and Italy, 11% in the US and Japan, and 18% in Germany.The UK labour market showed considerable resilience in the early stages of the recent recession despite the depth of the downturn, employment held up better than expected, and better than in previous recessions. Many businesses made efforts to retain staff during the downturn through pay freezes, short-time working and similar measures. There is, however, a sting in the tail, and were now experiencing it. Because they didnt indulge in big layoffs, employers have plenty of staff capacity to cope with a moderate increase in business demand, without needing to recruit. So the employment bath is filling slowly, with only a trickle of new jobs, as the economy stutters back into growth. The worse news is that big public sector job cuts will shortly pull out the bath plug, and overall employment levels may well fall again. This is not a good moment to be taking demand out of the labour market. It is highly implausible, in the immediate future at least, that new private sector jobs will absorb the staff being thrown out from the public and voluntary sectors. The problem is exacerbated by the reluctance, confirmed in several recent surveys, of private employers to hire ex-public sector staff. The government is about to roll out its ambitious new welfare-to-work scheme (the Work Programme) aiming to find sustainable jobs for large numbers of the long-term unemployed and people previously on disability benefits. The success of this initiative, as the Work and Pensions select committee noted earlier this month, depends crucially on the overall state of the labour market, and on sufficient vacancies becoming available which are suitable for Work Programme participants. Todays labour market data raise serious doubts on this front, suggesting that the new scheme is being launched into very choppy waters.
UK unemployment stats - Grant Thornton's Head of Resourcing comments
Figures released from the Office for National Statistics this morning reveal that the unemployment rate for the three months to March 2011 was 7.7% of the economically active population, down by 0.1 percentage point on the quarter and 0.3 points down from a year earlier. 20% of youths (16-24 years old) were unemployed, down from 25% from the previous quarter.
Samantha OByrne, Head of Resourcing at Grant Thornton UK LLP, says: The trend of overall rising unemployment has stagnated for the second month running and the relentless rise in youth unemployment has finally been curbed, but it still poses a serious problem. The UK is performing better than some OECD countries such as financially troubled Spain, but is notably still behind countries such as Switzerland and Germany. Both these countries are known for their apprenticeship cultures an example of action the UK may need to take to address the issue. Integrating the young into the work force early has to be a priority in order to get the economy back on track. The recent announcement by the Coalition to fund 250,000 more apprenticeships and 100,000 work placements as part of the youth employment drive is a good start, but the implementation timeline of four and two years respectively may not be the rapid progress we need in this area. The investment in the development of a skilled work force will be a cornerstone in accelerating the recovery of the UKs economy. The Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce recently said UK businesses suffer from an under-skilled workforce coming through from schools. It is vital the skills issue is addressed - it forms the basis of our future economy -  but a university degree should not have to be a pre-requisite to get a job. Employers should be encouraged to take on bright school leavers and help develop them into skilled employees by providing the necessary training. The quantum of job opportunities generated is at the heart of the economy. The removal of the default retirement age at 65 which came into force during April could mean young people will face an even tougher struggle to break into an increasingly crowded job market. We will have to wait for coming next months statistics to see what the impact of this will be. There are a lot of school leavers who show great potential and their skills need to be harnessed. We have doubled the number of places we offer school leavers this year to reflect this and help young people getting on the job ladder, OByrne concluded.
REC response to latest jobless figures 
Second fall in jobless total is good news but jobs market remains fragile, says REC
Todays UK unemployment figures show another drop in the number of people out of work.  In the quarter until the end of March, the number fell 36,000 to 2.46 million. The number of young people aged between 16 and 24 also dropped 30,000 to 935,000.
Commenting on this second consecutive drop in the total, Gillian Econopouly, the RECs Head of Policy, said:
Though this continuing trend is welcome, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the jobs market remains volatile. Our latest Report on Jobs shows that while hiring activity in certain sectors is steadily increasing, there is still concern over the effects of public sector cuts and the creation of a two speed jobs market.
Employer confidence is on the rise which gives some optimism for how the employment landscape will develop over the coming months. However, the ability of the private sector to fully absorb public sector job losses remains in the balance.
Commenting on the latest youth unemployment data, Econopouly concludes:
The drop in the number of young people out of work is also encouraging, but this should not mean that the corner has been turned. The Government is committed to addressing this issue but needs to consider more concrete measures such as National Insurance holidays to encourage employers to hire young job-seekers. At the same time, the business community must play its part by working with schools to help build bridges into the world of work through internships and apprenticeships.
Office of National Statistics releases latest unemployment figures
Concerns over upward trend in unemployment amongst Unskilled Youth Generation as Princes Trust publishes report warning of an aspiration gap
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) earlier today revealed that the jobless rate amongst young people stood at 20% with the trend in unemployment amongst 16-24 year-olds likely to rise and reach the 1 million mark.
Research also released today by the Princes Trust warns of an aspiration gap developing amongst Britains poorest families due to lack of confidence amongst young people.   According to the report, based on interviews with 2,311 16-to-24-year-olds from across the UK, one in four of those from deprived homes (26 per cent) believe that few or none of their career goals are achievable, compared to just seven per cent of those from affluent families.
The research, which highlights a clear aspiration gap between the UKs richest and poorest young people, shows how more than a quarter from poor homes feels that people like them dont succeed in life.
Many experts are attributing the worrying trend to an ever widening skills gap. Carmen Watson, Managing Director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, the UKs largest independent recruitment company responded to the latest reports commenting, The government needs to extend funding for education providers to get the youth work-ready by changing their mentalities towards work and providing them with the necessary skill sets needed to break this cycle of unemployment and low aspirations.
Last month, Chancellor George Osborne also highlighted the skills gap as a real danger and voiced his concern that the UK was falling behind other developed countries in terms of having a skilled and flexible work force a situation that would potentially undermine any future economic growth.
As a result, the government has announced extra funding for a further 250,000 apprenticeships over the next four years as well as launching its 60m apprenticeship initiative last week.
Apprenticeships should prove an attractive solution to both employers and perspective employees as university fees increase. However, Carmen also highlights that the right calibre employers look for, encompasses not just the business-specific skills required for their roles but wider more underlying qualities such as the right work ethic and passion for the role.
Watson continued, The skills agenda raises much concern and there are a number of vital areas we need to look at. A critical area appears to be 16-24 years olds where we have seen an alarmingly high unemployment rate so far this year. We are clearly not offering this age group enough training and support and, in my opinion, many fall out of training altogether. This is an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and we need to be asking companies and training providers to seriously look at how we can engage with and support an age group that are failing to get jobs.


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