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Comment on The Latest ONS Employment Figures

Comment on The Latest ONS Employment Figures

UNITE - The UK still faces an employment crisis

Unite, Britain's biggest union, has warned the government not to 'crow' over the latest unemployment figures as the country still faces an employment crisis.

Unemployment has fallen by 14,000 in the final quarter of last year to 2.5 million according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). But Youth unemployment, counting 16 to 24-year-olds, rose by 11,000 to 974,000, the biggest increase since the start of last year.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "When 1700 people apply for just eight jobs in a Nottingham coffee shop, then there is something seriously wrong with employment in this country. "Of course it is good news that more people are reportedly in work but the number of young unemployed people just keeps climbing, while wages fall and growing numbers of people need two jobs just to get by.

"This is no time for government to crow. The shocking waste of our young people's talents, underemployment, poverty pay and bogus self employment are all indicators of an employment crisis, not a recovery."


Zain Wadee, Managing Director of specialist recruiter hyphen, part of the Adecco Group commented:

“Today's labour market statistics are encouraging but the jobs market does continue to remain tough for many. We have seen cautious optimism amongst employers during the first months  of this year and there are pockets of growth job seekers within professional skills segments.

“Temporary and contract hiring remains an area of growth for many organisations at the present time as they look to create a flexible workforce to meet business demands. Many people like the flexibility and variety temporary work provides and we  are  also  seeing growing numbers of job seekers actively take these roles and using the experience gained to assist with finding future permanent positions.

“While unemployment in the last three months of the year was slightly lower than the same time during 2011, the number of economically inactive young people is still a cause for concern. Job creation amongst the young is vital to the UK economy. We are seeing vacancies, but not necessarily the right mix of skills to fill posts. Government needs to work with educators, employers to ensure that the right environment is created to give the next generation the right mix of employability skills. “


The CBI today commented on the latest official labour market data, showing that employment rose by 154,000 in the three months to December and unemployment dropped by 14,000. Annual growth in regular pay in the three months to December was 1.3%, down from 1.4% in November.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said:

“It's pleasing to see businesses are continuing to create jobs, though the weakness of pay growth shows we are not out of the woods yet.

“It is particularly good that so much of this month's jobs growth is driven by full timers, given worries about under-employment. It's also good news that jobs are being created in most regions across the country.”

Institute for Employment Studies

Today’s surprisingly strong data from the Office of National Statistics show that the pick-up in the UK labour market is continuing.

Nearly all of the headline indicators recorded positive moves, with unemployment down on both the main measures, and employment and total hours worked both increasing (reflecting a strong growth in full-time work in the most recent quarter). Self-employment continued to increase to record levels (with more than 4.2 million people now classified as self-employed in the official statistics).

The only blemishes in this overwhelmingly positive picture are that there was a small increase (11,000) in youth unemployment, and redundancies were also up over the quarter (17,000), an increase which may feed through into unemployment in the months ahead.

Nigel Meager, Director at the Institute for Employment Studies, commented:“Overall, these figures show the continuing resilience of the UK labour market in generating jobs despite a macro-economic climate which, as measured by GDP figures, remains extremely subdued. The UK stands in contrast to developments in the Eurozone, where employment and unemployment figures are continuing to deteriorate.

"Many puzzles remain, however, when we look below the surface of these figures. The longer-term implications for UK labour productivity of the conflicting data on GDP and employment remain somewhat worrying, and there are many unresolved questions about the quality and sustainability of many of the new jobs now emerging.”


End-of-year jobs rush offset by pay squeeze

Commenting on the latest ONS Labour Market statistics, for the period October-December 2012, Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said:  “The latest figures show that the run up to Christmas provided mixed blessings for employees and jobseekers, with buoyant recruitment but low pay growth.  In line with the results of recent CIPD surveys, the UK jobs market strengthened significantly in the final quarter of 2012.  However, the medium-term outlook remains less certain, as the public sector seems likely to continue to shed jobs and there are questions over the private sector’s ability to sustain this momentum unless economic growth resumes soon.

“The recent private sector recovery is being driven by full-time employment but temporary jobs account for nearly a third of the last quarter’s increase in employment.  As indicated in the latest CIPD/SuccessFactors Labour Market Outlook report, almost half of temporary employees (44%) would like a permanent contract, including a majority of temporary employees aged between 25-54.

“Today’s wage growth figures also demonstrate how employers have been able to support high employment levels against the backdrop of a stalling economy.  With basic pay inflation now running at 1.3% - equalling a three and a half year low - the living standards of employees will continue to fall given the Bank of England’s expectations of higher inflation.

“Taken together, today’s figures show the continued challenges employers face in retaining and motivating employees when their ability to offer higher pay or more job security is limited.”


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