BCC: Positive labour market figures point to strong momentum in the economy

  • In the three months to February 2015 employment rose by 248,000, while unemployment fell by 76,000
  • The proportion of people aged 16 – 64 in work was 73.4%, the highest since record began in 1971
  • The total unemployment rate fell to 5.6% and the youth unemployment rate declined to 16.1%
  • Total pay including bonuses rose by 1.7% compared with a year earlier, while pay excluding bonuses rose by 1.8%.

Commenting on the labour market statistics for April 2015, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The latest figures continue to highlight the dynamism and resilience of the UK labour market. Rising employment levels and falling unemployment supports our view that the UK economy will record steady growth in the first quarter, despite the recent disappointing construction and production figures.

“And it is very welcome news that wage increases are now higher than inflation and are boosting living standards.

“However, challenges remain – we must address the youth unemployment rate. Although it continues to fall, it is still more than three times the national average.”

David Bharier, BCC Business Insight Manager said:

“The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey* shows a steady level of growth in employment levels since the 2008-09 recession, despite slight slowdowns in recent quarters.

“However, a majority of firms from both the manufacturing and services sectors struggle to find the right staff, with 69% and 65% reporting recruitment difficulties in the last three months, respectively.”

Written on 17th April 2015Lillie Geistdorfer. Published in BCC