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ONS report feedback

Neil Carberry, the CBI’s Director of Employment and Skills, said:

“Today’s figures suggest that the more positive economic outlook is beginning to flow through to the jobs market. However, overall unemployment remains high.

“It is really encouraging that today’s increase in employment is almost entirely driven by a rise in full-time work and that long-term unemployment has begun to drop.

“However, it is clear that pay restraint is underpinning employment growth so we must ensure that minimum wage policy continues to reflect the wider labour market to ensure people aren’t priced out of opportunities to work.”

Nigel Meager, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said:

'Today's labour market statistics from ONS contain broadly good news.

'After several months with all the main indicators moving in a positive direction, it's now safe to say that economic growth is, at last, starting to feed through into the UK labour market.

'But there's still a long way to go, with unemployment at 2.4 million, over 800,000 more than at the start of the financial crisis in 2007. One feature of the recent downturn has been that employment and unemployment have been much less sensitive to GDP changes than in previous recessions.

'On the positive side this means that the labour market wasn't as badly hit as economists expected: employment held up better than before, with more of the hit being taken by reduced working hours and real wages. The flip side of this coin is that those in work have experienced an unprecedented squeeze in living standards. But it also means that employment will be less responsive to GDP in the upturn, so we can expect the current improvement to be the start of a fairly 'slow burn' jobs recovery.

Chris Smith, managing director at Opinio Group, said:

“The announcement that the number of unemployed people in the UK has fallen again is good news at what it is a critical time for the UK economy.

“Whilst 2.49 million people are still out of work – and this is a sobering figure in itself – we welcome this further drop in unemployment. Coupled with a fall of 41,700 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the June to August period, it’s clear to see that, finally, the economy is on the move again.

“What the government needs to do now is make it easier and quicker for growing companies to take on extra staff, whilst extending tax breaks for those that are doing just that. Businesses in the UK need to know that they can strive for profits without being penalised by a punitive tax system.

“The recovery will only be sustained if companies can hire extra staff quickly and without getting weighed down by the bureaucratic red tape that currently hampers them. We call on the government to streamline this process, so that further falls in unemployment are as impressive as this one.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said:

“The UK job market is stepping up a gear. Available jobs are on the up, and salary growth is beginning to gather pace after a sluggish couple of years. Employers are building up their teams in order to capitalise on the wider economic recovery. Unemployment has fallen for the second month in a row, and around the country, job hunters are feeling more confident about their chances of finding work.

“But a word of caution: wages may be slowly creeping back up, but they are still being outpaced by inflation, and many UK employees are still to feel a difference in their wallets. It’s especially hard for graduates, who have seen their average starting salary drop over 10% year-on-year in many parts of the country. In addition, the job market still shows some strong regional disparities. In some areas of the UK finding a job is highly competitive. Our research has found that the ratio of job vacancies to applicants is generally more favourable in the South – of the ten best UK cities to find a job, only one was in the North.”

CIPD chief economist Mark Beatson said:

"Today's headline figures continue the pattern of recent months. Increased confidence in economic growth is feeding through to the labour market.  Recruitment is up and the official number of vacancies is at its highest level since the autumn of 2008.  The number of people employed grew by 155,000 in the last quarter yet there is no sign yet of increased demand leading to higher wages across the board– indeed, average earnings in August were unchanged from the previous month and the annual growth rate for the last three months is just 0.7%, two percentage points below the current rate of inflation.

“However, the number of people unemployed on the headline measure is hardly moving at the moment.  In part this is because the population is growing.  The number of people who are inactive has also fallen again, which increases the labour supply, and there are now 63,000 less people inactive because of long-term sickness than there were a year ago.  But unemployment does appear to be on the way down the headline measure is moving very slowly whereas the claimant count fell by 120,000 between June and September.

“Hopefully, some of this difference might be timing – the claimant count is more up to date than the headline measure.  But youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, and long term unemployment has only just begun to fall, so there is a real need to step up efforts to ensure our young and long term unemployed aren’t left out of the labour market recovery. 

REC CEO Kevin Green commented:

 “Today’s figures show more jobs being created and that both the recovery and business confidence are strengthening.  This positive trend reflects the data we get from recruiters that shows the jobs market continues to pick up momentum.

“New employment minister Esther McVey points out the importance of flexible working in the labour market with more than 4 out of 5 of people with part-time jobs choosing to work in this way. It’s important that politicians from all the major parties don't undermine our dynamic flexible jobs market with more regulation as our labour market starts to lift off.”

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