Commenting on the labour market statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“The labour market figures are broadly positive showing increases in employment and a decline both in unemployment and inactivity. However, there are some worrying features, for example the number of people claiming benefits has increased, and the number of those unemployed for more than twelve months has risen to the highest level since January 1997. Wage pressures have remained modest, reinforcing the case against an early increase in interest rates.
“The figures demonstrate that the private sector is able to create jobs in spite of the government’s measures to reduce the UK’s deficit. However, we can’t be complacent, as public sector employment will inevitably decline as the cuts continue. The government must do more to empower the private sector to create jobs. The burden of regulation on businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized firms still weighs too heavily and in many cases prevents companies from creating jobs.”