Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The jobs figures - not bad, could be better
Posted by David Smith at 03:30 PM
Category: Thoughts and responses

The latest labour market statistics were, it should be said, mixed. The good news was that unemployment, 2.67m, remained steady for a third successive month. What appears to have happened is that, having remained flat at roughly 2.5m for two years from mid-2009, there was a lurch higher in the summer and autumn of last year, followed by stabilisation.

The detail was less encouraging. Employment rose by only 9,000 over the latest three months and all of this and more was due to a rise in part-time employment (up 59,000), offset by a drop of 50,000 in full-time jobs. So on an hours-adjusted basis employment fell.

The underlying weakness of the labour market was reflected in earnings growth of 1.4% (1.7% excluding bonuses) showing that the squeeze on real earnings persists.

There's better news in the fact that private sector employment, up 683,000 over the past two years, has more than outweigned the drop of 390,000 in public sector employment (which is now down to 2003 levels) over the period. Details here.