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Comment on ONS Labour Market Statistics.

Comment on ONS Labour Market Statistics.

-          unemployment up by 70,000 to 2.56 million

Peter Searle, CEO of Adecco Group UK & Ireland, commented on today’s ONS Labour Market Statistics : “Today’s employment figures reflect belt tightening and hiring freezes of many employers. Although we have seen  early signs of optimism in March and early April, there is no getting away from the worrying numbers of those who are young and unemployed.

“Today’s school leavers and graduates find themselves in a vicious cycle competing with those young employees who were last to be employed and first to be laid off when downturn hit. As the market picks up, employers turn to those who possess the short experience and employment skills required to hit the ground running. The capacity just isn’t there to take on those fresh from school and university without them.   

“In the long term, this skills gap will eventually close with initiatives such as apprenticeships.  This doesn’t help those youngsters struggling in the short term though. More needs to be done today to encourage growing numbers of organisations to deliver work experience which will allow a lost generation of job seekers to compete and create a new talent pipeline for the future.”

Kevin Green, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, comments on today’s ONS employment figures:

“Although there has been an increase in a number of unemployed this month, all the indications and feedback we receive from recruiters show that businesses intend to hire more people this year. We expect to see slow growth in the jobs market over the coming months. 

“In fact, in some parts of the labour market the looming problem is not a lack of vacancies but a shortage of talent to fill the jobs that the private sector is creating. IT and engineering are the obvious examples but there are some less well known ones too, like drivers and chefs. Recruiters have reported a shortage of drivers nearly every month for the past two years and the existing workforce is rapidly ageing. There are nearly as many drivers aged over 60 as there are under 30, which is unheard of in any other sector of the UK economy. 

“A two speed labour market is developing with a dearth of candidates with in-demand skills at the same time as an unacceptably high number of long term unemployed who don’t have the skills and experience necessary to take advantage of the jobs that are available.”

CBI COMMENTS ON LATEST LABOUR MARKET STATISTICS

The CBI today commented on the latest labour market statistics for the three months to February, from the Office of National Statistics, which show that unemployment rose by 70,000 to 2.56 million, while employment edged down slightly, by 2000.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment & Skills, said: “The rise in unemployment is disappointing and reflects a lacklustre economy over recent months.

“However, the increase in the headline rate is due to more people looking for work, who weren’t previously doing so, rather than simple job losses. Numbers claiming unemployment benefits are still falling.

“The flat employment growth is down to a fall in part-time jobs. Full-time posts increased again this month, continuing the positive trend of recent months.”

Commenting on today’s Labour Market Statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD, comments: “This month’s figures have seen the recent period of sustained employment growth come to an end.  The number of people in employment is very marginally down on the previous three month period, with full-time employment increasing but part-time employment falling.  At the same time, with the population increasing and economic inactivity continuing to fall – which in itself is not a bad thing – this has led to a quite substantial increase in unemployment, up by 70,000 on the previous three month period.

“The question is whether this is a short term blip or whether a lack of demand means that the economy will struggle to create more jobs.  Recent forward-looking indicators of recruitment intentions, including the CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook, remain positive.  Nor have we seen any significant change in the number of redundancies.  Hence, at this stage, it would be unwise to read too much into a single month’s figures.  Nevertheless, the statistics do remind us that jobs cannot be created forever without a growing economy to sustain demand.  And it is certainly not a question of people pricing themselves out of jobs, as wages excluding bonuses are now growing by just 1 per cent a year, the lowest figure since this data started to be collected in 2001.” 

Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies,on today’s jobs figures from the Office of National Statistics:

UK labour market still in the doldrums?

IES Director, Nigel Meager, commented on today's labour force statistics:

“Today’s data from the Office of National Statistics show that the long-awaited recovery in the UK labour market may still be some way off.

“Nearly all the headline indicators recorded little change the recent employment growth seems to have fizzled out, and there is virtually no change in total hours worked in the economy, or in new vacancies recorded by employers. Although claimant count unemployment fell slightly, the broader official measure of unemployment increased by 70,000 over the previous quarter and still stands at 2.56 million.

“Much recent commentary has focused on the apparent resilience of the UK labour market, and the strong performance in total employment. It’s worth stressing though that the employment rate at 71% is still below its pre-recession level, and the recent jobs growth has been at the expense of a poor productivity performance, which may harm the UK’s longer-term growth prospects. Recent employment growth has relied heavily on under-employed part-timers, and precarious self-employment.

“Looking beyond these small month-to-month movements in the official statistics, the overall picture remains one of stagnation. Unemployment has been stuck at around 2.5 million for nearly four years, a million higher than pre-recession levels, and the employment rate has been stuck in the 70-71% range for a similar period. The stark fact is that although the labour market wasn’t hit as badly this time round as in previous recessions, it has taken much longer to recover, and the light at the end of the tunnel remains rather dim.”

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