Commenting on the labour market figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“The labour market figures are disappointing for the second month in a row, and support our forecast that unemployment is likely to hit 2.65 million towards the end of the year.

“In addition to the rise in unemployment, the figures show a large decline in employment, and a further increase in inactivity. The phenomenon of ‘under-employment’ – the number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job – increased to a new record high.

“Additionally, public sector earnings continue to grow at a much faster rate than the private sector – an unacceptable and unaffordable trend.

“In light of this, it is vital that the new government takes forceful measures to enable businesses to create jobs and growth. It must go further than its early announcements, and scrap the entire planned rise in employers’ National Insurance contributions without delay.  Business confidence would also be helped by an immediate freeze of the total public sector wage bill, and swift moves to tackle unfunded and expensive public sector pensions.”