· Employers will continue to find recruiting skilled staff harder and harder over the year as the number of unemployed continues to fall.
Commenting on today’s labour market data from the Office for National Statistics, Christian Spence, Head of Business Intelligence at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Today’s figures continue to confirm the positive news within the labour market that we have seen from our own research, particularly from the Manchester Index™ where our employment tracker has been showing considerable strength for nearly a year. Employment growth at 345,000 for the quarter is strong and consequently unemployment is falling quickly too, down 161,000 over the same period.
“In Greater Manchester, the news is also positive. The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell in all ten boroughs and overall by 2,825 between April and May to stand at 55,842, the lowest since November 2008. The youth claimant count has also fallen, by over 1,000, to 12,660, the lowest since 2005, down around 55% from its high in September 2009.
“The headline rates of wage growth have slowed for this month’s data (March 2014), as expected, caused by transitionary effects when the additional rate of tax was lowered from 50% to 45% in April 2013, with high earners delaying bonuses from March to April of that year to take benefit of the lower rate. We expect this statistical effect to overcorrect in the April data and then settle again for May’s, though we won’t have this until July this year. We still expect to see real-terms wage growth from the April pay-round this year as this will continue to improve as the labour market tightens as the year progresses.
“Overall, this is good news but we have some cautions. Employers will continue to find recruiting skilled staff harder and harder over the year as the number of unemployed continues to fall. However there remains a significant risk that those people who have been unemployed for some time will continue to find it difficult to reengage with employers. Support from public and private bodies must be ruthlessly focused on those who need it most and not liberally distributed across the spectrum. Only when all of our population are able to benefit from the economic recovery will we truly have shaken off the shackles of the recent recession.”
Click here to view the latest Chart of the Day showing the unemployment rates over the last nine years.