Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Employment holds up but unemployment jumps
Posted by David Smith at 12:15 PM
Category: Thoughts and responses

This was a weaker set of labour market statistics, in three important respects. The growth in employment stabilised, slipping by a modest 2,000 in the latest three months. Unemployment rose, by 70,000 over the latest three months to 2.56 million. Pay growth was extremely weak, with total pay up 1% (the lowest since records began in 2001) and total pay, including bonuses, up by just 0.8%.

The jump in unemployment appears to have been due to big monthly rise in January, but will remain in the figures for a couple more months, after which unemployment could stabilise or fall.

Better news in the figures included the lowest inactivity rate for 16-64 year-olds (22.2%) since 1991 and a fifth successive monthly fall in the claimant count. It dropped by 7,000 in March to 1.53 million. But overall, weaker numbers. More here.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England's monetary policy was split again on quantitative easing, with three members (Sir Mervyn King, David Miles and Paul Fisher) again voting for an increase from 375 billion to 400 billion but the rest happy to stay put. The majority may yet be persuaded, though at present they see the best route to stronger growth through improving the working of credit markets. More here.