Today’s unemployment figures are encouraging, but productivity is still falling

Commenting on today's figures, Professor Len Shackleton, fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
 


"Today’s labour market figures, though perhaps not quite as impressive as those for last month, show a continuing positive trend in most of the important indicators. For all those of working age, International Labour Organisation (ILO) unemployment and the unemployment rate are down, total employment is up (with gains in both full-time and part-time work), average hours worked are up. Redundancies are down and economic inactivity are down.
 


"This overall picture is mirrored in the position for both men and women – and in the all-important area of youth. More young people are in work, and the unemployment rate amongst 16-24 year-olds has fallen again.
 


"Caution always needs to be shown when analysing one set of figures. There are some negatives: the rate of job creation appears to be slowing. The claimant count (those claiming Job-seekers Allowance and related benefits) is marginally up. Too many are on work-creation schemes. Productivity has fallen again. The numbers of self-employed have slipped back.
 


"But overall the picture is still a good one, and again suggests we are coming out of recession. Conditions remain fragile, however. There are no grounds to backtrack on the government’s commitment to cutting the deficit, still less to increase the pressure on the jobs market by yet more government interference. In the last few weeks we have seen proposals to extend the “living wage” to all government contracts, and to increase the scope of the right to request flexible working. Employers face quite enough problems at the moment without further impositions of this kind."
 


Notes to editors

To arrange an interview with an IEA spokesperson, please contact Stephanie Lis, Communications Officer: 020 7799 8909 or 07766 221 268.For ONS Labour Market statistics published today, click here.



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