· GM economy growing at twice the rate of the UK as a whole
· Employers may see recruitment difficulties due to skills shortages in certain sectors
Commenting on the latest labour market figures, Christian Spence, Head of Research and Policy at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The latest data from the Office for National Statistics notes that for the three months to April 2015, employment in the UK increased by 114,000 compared to the previous months, and 424,000 higher than a year earlier. The number of unemployed now stands at 1.81 million, 43,000 lower than the previous three months and 349,000 lower on the year.
“In Greater Manchester, the claimant count stands at 30,590, an all-time low. With 1.7% of the GM population in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, this rate is now lower than that for the UK as a whole. For under-25s, the picture is similar with a fall to 4,775 (15.6%), also the lowest rate on record.
“Overall, today’s release confirms the continued long-term improvement in the labour market with jobs continuing to be created in Greater Manchester, driven by a strong overall economic performance with GM growing at around twice the rate of the UK as a whole. Wage rises are also now picking up with average settlements increase by 2.7%, a large increase in real terms with inflation close to zero. We expect to see pay increases continue through the year, though real-terms rates of growth may be weakened over the coming months as headline levels of inflation start to move up from their current lows.
“With the labour market tightening at its current rate, employers are likely to see recruitment difficulties, already at high levels, increase further which will place additional pressure on wage settlements as companies may struggle to easily find people with the right skills. We continue to work closely with government for a reformed skills system which is more responsive to employer demand so that it is easier to support people into work, helping them to find the right opportunities, and ensuring that employers can grow and maximise their opportunities as the economy continues to recover.”