• In the three months to February 2012, unemployment fell by 35,000 while employment rose by 53,000
• The number of unemployed people aged 16-24 fell by 9,000 but remained above 1million
• The number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job rose by 89,000 to the highest figure since records began
Commenting on the labour market figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:“With economic pressures facing the UK and ongoing problems in the eurozone, these figures were broadly positive, showing that unemployment fell and employment increased. But there are certain features which are causing concern. Youth unemployment, though slightly down, remains above one million, and the number of people working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job reached a new peak. Although the rise in employment is welcome, we can’t ignore the fact that part-time jobs have risen while the number of full-time jobs has fallen. The overall message from these figures is encouraging, however, as they show the ability and willingness of the private sector to drive recovery at a time when the public sector is likely to shrink further.
“But the challenges facing the labour market cannot be overlooked. As the deficit-cutting plan forces the government to reduce employment, it is likely that the unemployment total will increase over the next year. Every effort must be made to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and increase the flow of lending to credit worthy firms so the private sector can create new jobs.”