Commenting on the labour market figures, published today by the ONS, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The increase in employment over the last three months highlights the benefits of Britain’s flexible labour market - with firms and workers agreeing measures that have preserved, and even increased, jobs in the economy. There’s no doubt that unemployment will rise further in 2010, but there’s hope that it will peak somewhat below the 3 million mark.

“Since the jobs figures were better than expected, there may be a case to revise last quarter’s GDP estimate upward. The preliminary figures showed a 0.4% fall. But if this fall is confirmed, it means a big drop in UK productivity, which would have serious long-term consequences.

“Overall, continued uncertainty means that the risks of relapse are still very serious. So measures to sustain the flexibility of our labour market are more critical than ever. We need a moratorium on new employment regulations, coupled with moves to extend quantitative easing and pressure to increase bank lending to viable businesses.”