Labour market delicately poised
Today's ONS unemployment figures show the labour market remains delicately poised, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Comparing the three months to September with the three months to August, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 7.7 per cent. Deeper analysis shows that the number of private sector jobs increased by 308,000 between March and June this year, while public sector jobs fell by 22,000 in the same period.
British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said: "These figures provide few pointers as to the strength and speed of the economic recovery. With this modest movement unlikely to have much affect on consumer demand or confidence, there's no immediate cause for worry.
"Most interesting is the relatively modest fall in the number of public sector jobs. So far public sector job losses are few enough to be more than compensated for by private sector growth. But that balance will change as the impact of public spending cuts works through to the jobs market. Future unemployment levels depend on the extent to which the, currently encouraging, rate of private sector growth continues to off-set the half a million public jobs due to be lost over the next four years.
"These figures also demonstrate that retail has a fundamental role in maintaining and creating vital new jobs. The BRC's Retail Employment Monitor showed retailers created the equivalent of an extra 12,750 full time jobs in the last year – a 2.1 per cent increase. That process deserves ongoing recognition and support."
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