Jobs dip setback shows fragility

  • In the three months to May 2015 unemployment rose by 15,000 and employment fell by 67,000.
  • This was the first increase in unemployment and the first fall in employment since early 2013.
  • In the three months to May 2015 the youth unemployment rate fell from 16.1% to 15.9% but was still almost three times higher than the national average.
  • Average earnings were 3.2% higher than a year earlier including bonuses and 2.8% higher excluding bonuses.
  • In June 2015 the claimant count was up 7,000 compared with May 2015, the first monthly increase since October 2012.

Commenting on the Labour Market Statistics published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Today’s figures break a long run of employment growth. This setback is a reminder that our recovery is still fragile and that further measures are needed to nurture economic growth, in particular by encouraging businesses to invest and export.

“While these latest figures are disappointing, one month’s worth of statistics should not spark undue alarm. The UK’s dynamic and flexible labour market has proven time and time again to be a source of strength for our economy.

“We should continue to strengthen our relationship between local businesses and schools and colleges, so our young people leave education ready for the world of work.

“Average earnings are now growing much stronger than inflation and will be a boost for living standards. What we need now is a continued period of stability without any threat of an interest rate rise for the time being.”

David Bharier, Business Insight Manager said:

“The BCC Quarterly Economic Survey* showed a decline in the share of manufacturing firms reporting growth in their workforce in Q2, while the service sector maintained a steady rate of labour growth.

“The number of firms experiencing recruitment difficulties has also risen to the joint-highest level on record, with 81% of manufacturers reporting difficulties in the recruitment process, particularly for managerial and skilled staff.”