UK labour market recovery continues

Press Releases

20 Feb 2013

Today’s surprisingly strong data from the Office of National Statistics show that the pick-up in the UK labour market is continuing.

Nearly all of the headline indicators recorded positive moves, with unemployment down on both the main measures, and employment and total hours worked both increasing (reflecting a strong growth in full-time work in the most recent quarter). Self-employment continued to increase to record levels (with more than 4.2 million people now classified as self-employed in the official statistics).

The only blemishes in this overwhelmingly positive picture are that there was a small increase (11,000) in youth unemployment, and redundancies were also up over the quarter (17,000), an increase which may feed through into unemployment in the months ahead.

Nigel Meager, Director at the Institute for Employment Studies, commented:

‘Overall, these figures show the continuing resilience of the UK labour market in generating jobs despite a macro-economic climate which, as measured by GDP figures, remains extremely subdued. The UK stands in contrast to developments in the Eurozone, where employment and unemployment figures are continuing to deteriorate.

‘Many puzzles remain, however, when we look below the surface of these figures. The longer-term implications for UK labour productivity of the conflicting data on GDP and employment remain somewhat worrying, and there are many unresolved questions about the quality and sustainability of many of the new jobs now emerging.’


About IES

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK’s leading independent, not-for-profit centre for research and evidence-based consultancy on employment, the labour market, and HR policy and practice.