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ONS unemployment Figures Comment

ONS unemployment Figures – Comment


Black Christmas for the jobs market

Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics show clearly how much the labour market has deteriorated in the last 18 months, following the faltering early recovery from recession:

  The headline unemployment figure from the Labour Force Survey increased by 128,000 over the quarter to October taking the total to 2.64 million, its highest level for 17 years. The unemployment rate stands at 8.3 per cent.

  Within the overall total, youth unemployment continued to grow and has now reached 1.03 million, 22.0 per cent of the economically active population aged 16-24.

  The monthly claimant count figure (the numbers claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance) rose by 3,000 in November, taking the total to 1.6 million.

  The numbers in employment fell again by 63,000 in the quarter to October. The latest figures for public and private sector employment (for the quarter to September) show that the total in the public sector fell by 67,000. This reduction was nearly all in local government and greatly outstrips the growth of 5,000 in the private sector. Compared with the previous year, public sector employment has now fallen by 276,000.

  Job vacancies remained flat, recording a small fall of 18,000 to 455,000 in the three months to November.

  The overall level of redundancies hardly changed over the quarter to October, but the detailed figures at industry level show that redundancies in sectors with a concentration of public sector employers have continued to increase.

Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, commented:

“The economy is still flat on its back, with GDP at four per cent below the pre-recession level.

“The employment figures are entirely consistent with this bleak economic background. Chronic lack of demand in the macro-economy means that a new private sector upsurge, perfectly timed to offset massive job cuts in the public sector, was always implausible. The latest figures show that it certainly isn’t happening, and the flat level of vacancies confirms that businesses are extremely cautious in hiring.

“The Eurozone difficulties didn’t cause this situation, but they will impair the chances of an early labour market recovery. Subdued business confidence will hinder recruitment by private sector employers, as the public sector jobs haemorrhage continues.

“While the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement contained welcome moves in the right direction, they are likely to be too small and too slow in coming through to prevent further employment falls in the months ahead. Many more thousands of families will experience the unnecessary damage of job loss and sustained unemployment, unless larger and more rapid steps are taken to address the gap in demand. This would require significant fiscal stimulus (such as a cut in VAT or National Insurance) and a slowing of the pace of deficit reduction.”




REC response to latest unemployment figures


UKunemployment rose by 128,000 to 2.64 million in the three months to October according to the new figures issued by the Office for National Statistics.  The figures also show that the number of people in employment fell by 63,000 to 29.11 million.

Commenting on the latest figures, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says:

"Today's data confirms that the first part of 2012 will continue to be a difficult time for the jobs market. This is borne out by the number of people working in the public sector falling by 67,000 over the quarter while at the same time, those employed in the private sector only increased by 5,000.

“According to feedback from recruitment professionals, demand remains strong in high-skilled sectors such as technology and engineering. This is because of the disconnect between the jobs currently on offer and the skills of job-seekers.

On youth unemployment, which has risen again by 54,000 to 1.03 million, over 22 per cent of that age group, Green says:

"Fiscal incentives to take on young people don't take effect until April. The Government needs to bring these forward to stop a terrible situation becoming a crisis.

"With the jobs market set to remain extremely competitive, it is crucial to up the ante in terms of the guidance and support offered to job seekers. This is a real area of weakness that the Government needs to urgently address in 2012." 





Private sector rise in jobs welcome

The CBI today (Wednesday) commented on official data showing unemployment rose by 128,000 to 2.64 million in the three months to October, including a further rise in youth unemployment to 1.03 million. The number of private sector jobs rose unexpectedly by 5,000 between Q2 and Q3.

Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

“These figures reflect just how tough things are in the economy. The continued rise in youth unemployment shows why the Government’s new Youth Contract is so important to help young people take their first steps in the labour market.

“Early results will only be seen in the New Year, but we must act now to prevent a generation being scarred in the long-term by unemployment.

“There’s more positive news that, even as growth slows, numbers of private sector jobs have still been growing. But with public job losses falling faster, it’s vital that the Government does everything possible to secure the private sector recovery.

“It’s time to get on with increasing exports, helping mid-sized companies, and attracting new investment into our infrastructure.”





Commenting on the latest UK unemployment statistics showing that unemployment has risen by 128,000 to 2.64 million people, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup UK, Mark Cahill said:

“The latest employment figures make for glum reading and show us times remain tough in the UK jobs market, but it’s vital that people don’t get discouraged from looking for work. There are still opportunities out there.

“The data tells us there are 455,000 open vacancies across the UK as a whole, and at ManpowerGroup we continue to help people into work every day, with the utilities and manufacturing sectors the most positive sectors for hiring at the start of 2012. Our advice to candidates is that flexibility is essential when looking for work in the current environment.

“Today’s candidates need to be more motivated than ever, but those with an open mind and a & lsquo;refuse to lose’ attitude to work, and a desire to learn new skills, will find work and get ahead.”


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